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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    August 5, 2013
    8:30 - 12:01pm EDT  

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tax credits for americans who buy health insurance through federally-administered exchanges. and at 10 eastern we'll be live from the brookings institution as u.s. trade representative michael froman discusses trade relations with african nations including the extension of a law that expands trade and investment in the sub-saharan region of the continent. all this week booktv will be in prime time on c-span2. tonight books about iran. after "the communicators" at 8:30 eastern we'll begin with the hoover institution and the book "the shah." at 8:55, former nsc staffers discuss u.s. engagement with iran in "going to tehran." that's followed at 9:55 p.m. with abraham sofair talking about why the u.s. should confront iran's revolutionary guard and its surrogates in
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"taking on iran." and then at 10:25 we conclude with james zogby as he explores the decline in popularity of arabs and muslims in the middle east. booktv in prime time tonight and all this week here on c-span2. >> we never really know -- we've never really known what to do with our first ladies, and that is particularly true in more recent times as on the one hand they're expected to have causes. you can't imagine a first lady today without a cause. on the other hand, those causes are not permitted to intrude upon law making or an official capacity. so it's always been a tight rope. and seeing how each of these women walked that tight rope tells you a lot not only about
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them, but about the institution and about the society that they represented. >> this week we begin our encore presentation of our original series "first ladies: influence and image" looking at the public and private lives of our nation's first ladies. week martha washington to ann gel la -- angelica van buren. starting tonight at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span. and during tonight's program on martha washington, join in the conversation with historian and author patricia brady at facebook.com/c-span. >> members of the house oversight subcommittee recently examined the legality of a government rule authorizing tabs credits for americans -- tax credits for americans who buy health insurance through federally-run exchanges. republicans argue the law allows tax credits only if for those receiving insurance through state-based exchanges.
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oversight committee chairman darrell issa threatened the official with subpoenas if the treasury department does not provide more information about the rulemaking process. the tax credits issue is currently the subject of a lawsuit brought by the state of oklahoma. this runs about 90 minutes. >> emily mcmahon is the deputy assistant for tax policy, u.s. department of treasury. thank you for being here. pursuant to all committee rule, all witnesses are sworn inng before they testify. if you'd please rise and raise your right hand, please.se y do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, thel whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you got? you may be seated. to allow time for discussion, you've testified here before, there'll be a clock in front of you counting down to five minutes. we'd ask for you to get as close as you can to five minutes but, obviously, you're the soles witness, so your entire written
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statement, obviously, will be made a part of the record as well. i'd like to go ahead and recognize you for your opening statement.. >> thank you, chairman lankford, ranking member spier and members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify regarding the premium tax credit created as part of the affordable care act. the aca established affordable insurance exchanges also known as health insurance marketplaces where consumers can choose aknow private health insurance plan beginning in 2014. so that this insurance isi affordable, congress also thi included in the aca a premium tax credit that it has beenm estimated will help approximately 20 million americans to afford private health insurance. these premium tax credits may be worth over $4,000 per coveredta individual each year on average. on august 17, 2011, the treasury department and the irs issuedvi proposeddu regulations implementing the premium tax
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credit under section 36b of the internal revenue code. final regulations were issued oo may 23, 2012. these regulations provide that the premium tax credit is r available to eligible individuals enrolling through all exchanges whether directly operated by a state government or a federally-facilitated exchange operated on behalf of a state. the regulations were developed in accordance with our standard procedure for developing regulations under the internal revenue code. career irs staff attorneys and attorneys from treasury's office of tax policy conducted as fr rigorous analysis of the statutory provisions drawing onc their extensive collectivens experience interpreting and implementing the code.r public comments were solicited on proposed regulations and were carefully considered during the development of the final regulations. treasury and irs believe thathed the final regulations interpret the statutory language in a manner that is appropriate toa
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its context and consistent witht the purpose and structure of tht statute as a whole pursuant to longstanding and well established principles of statutory construction. this interpretation takes into account the fact that section 36bf3 added by the aca requires federally-facilitated exchanges to report to the irs data related to eligibility for the premium tax credit and thea receipt of advance payments, a requirement that would be pointless unless the enrolling individuals were eligible for the premium tax credit. nrolling individuals were eligible for the premium tax credit. regulations also reflect the fact that when a state chooses not to establish an exchange pursuant to section or 1011 of the aca, it provides that the secretary of health and human services shall establish such exchange within the state. in other words, congress made this exchange the equivalent of a state exchange in all
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functions, including making qualified individuals eligible for tax credits to purchase insurance through those exchanges. i also know that the legislative history does not indicate that congress intended to limit the premium tax credits to state exchanges or more specifically to exclude the federally facilitated exchange. finally, the regulations are consistent with the explanation of the aca leased by the nonpartisan committee on taxation in with the assumptions made by the congressional budget office and estimating the effects that we recently confirmed in the 2012 letter to chairman darrell issa. i understand that some members will have committee questions about the legal interpretations. treasury appreciates the importance oversight role, it is important to remember that our conclusions are subject to ongoing active litigation.
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in fact i understand that some of the plaintiffs were on earlier panel. it is important to recognize only the justice department speaks to the administration's official legal positions as to the merits of our conclusion. i will do what i can to answer the committee's questions today subject to the treasury department's legitimate confidentiality interests and sensitivities concerning active litigation. as you know, the pourable care act is subjected to provide health care coverage for nearly 30 million additional americans. agencies throughout the administration are implementing the aca to build on the progress party made towards more affordable coverage greatly welcome the opportunity to continue our work with this committee and to achieve justice. i think you understand. we thank you. >> thank you, madam. thank you for being here. you are a part of that team that
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pulled us together and folks that had an involvement in the process. what was your proposed role and then the final roll when it was done? >> well, mr. chairman, at the time that both the proposed regulation and the formal regulation were issued, i was the acting assistant secretary for the tax policy. in that role, it is part of the internal revenue code are part of the process that we are going through is not only the final decision of it, obviously, there will be a legal conversation. how that was pulled together. there was a rigorous analysis of irs folks, obviously it is a long law and new in the format in a lot of ways.
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we have asked the treasury for a age limits number of documents and trying to gather how was the decision made between the state exchange issue or such exchanges as you mentioned, also including this conversation. what we have found so far is a half page memo that included the justification in such exchanges. that is around a 600 billion-dollar decision that was made to be able to include that so we ask for the background of that. today we actually received a letter from treasury thing that they would dress 500 pages of the documents so document so far to provide the background. we actually went and we have received 383 pages of documents. 154 pages of that was the draft proposed rule itself. so let me just walk through a little bit of what else we received. 386 pages that we have received from the treasury and irs about how this came to be.
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it was a draft proposal and 70 pages part of the law review article that i had mr. adler earlier today, it was also as part of a response to the article. this was after this was done. fifty-nine were law cases. cameron also tasks with defending the role. eleven pages from house republicans and 45 pages or from public hearings on the 36 b regulation. somewhere about the public comments in three pages of e-mails about setting up a meeting to discuss this issue with energy and commerce. eight pages were written after the final roll and three pages or a wall street journal op-ed. this includes a senate finance hearing. the request for documents or
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about the conversation of oneness is being discussed early on. what we received was 369 pages of public material that was obviously after that. two pages showed us that this was the adaptability of this case and they were mostly e-mails from treasury staff commenting on articles as suggested. what we need to know is how is the conversation accomplished. what happened in that conversation and was there active discussion and what we have asked for are the notes about that. when it comes to things that are not relevant, mostly this is part of the information. not based on those conversations. how can we determine what that conversation is like leading up to this decision?
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>> a couple of things, we did provide additional materials for review by your staff. those materials included at least two legal memorandums related to those proposed and final regulations and memos that accompanied the clearance packages of the regulation that it was public. i understand, as you mentioned our concerns with providing additional documents. >> all of this is not relevant. there are a lot of pages. but they are not relevant what we ask for. please go ahead. >> mr. chairman, i can assure you that we did have a
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discussion of the federal exchange before the proposed regulations were issued in between the issuance that was proposed and the regulation. there was an irs working group that was comprised of the staff and the irs attorneys and attorneys from tax policy to analyze this very carefully and a number of issues that were presented in the development and we consider this carefully before the proposed regulations were issued. we have a number of comments on proposed regulations the issue is to be considered before issuance of the diploma regulations. a lot of the discussion was oral and part of the increase in
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discussion. to the extent that there are additional documents that may relate to the internals of alterations this morning explained that we have concerns about confidentiality and the chilling effect that releases those additional documents. we are making process. >> so there is not any written evidence is further conversation between those goes, can we get a list of individuals that were involved and not specifically about those issues? >> mr. chairman, i cannot provide you on the top of my head a list of individuals. or a number of people involved. people who came and went at different times.
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but i can take your questions here that would be great. obviously there are a lot of issues that apply to them. this is the specific issue that we are trying to identify. how is the conversation and what was the diligence put to that. that is terrific and we just want to get a feel about and what happened with that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for coming today. i have some questions for you. the treasury department issued a final regulation allowing premium tax credits to be available in the origin of their exchange participation. am i correct in that? sumac yes, that is correct. >> under the interpretation that was put forward, i really operated exchanges would not
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qualify for the premium assistance tax credit. has our government ever provided this on a state-by-state basis or denied tax credits based solely on their state of residence? >> i'm not aware of any code or provision that operates on a. >> was the treasury department ever consulted on a carving out a premium tax credits? >> to the best of my knowledge, no. >> let's talk about regulation drafting. the department of treasury and david gest has conducted this o.
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>> we will join in on the safety regulations. >> it will be part of the ac provision and we actually solicited public comments before the proposed items to make sure that our proposed items reflects the public input and we have issued the proposed guidance, including the issuance over 100 comments on issues related to
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regulation we have taken all of this into account in accordance with our standards in the future. >> you follow the rulemaking procedure, didn't you? >> yes, sir. >> were the efforts to design regulations similar to other treasury regulations? >> yes, congressman, it was essentially the same and is a process that we always use in developing tax regulations. >> was the department of treasury aware that they should be available only in state run exchanges or is this alternative considered during the rulemaking process? >> we became aware of that argument in the course of developing the proposed regulation.
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we have considered it very carefully up to this point. as i have said, between the publication and the regulations. >> okay, good. would you characterize the administration's effort is transparent and fair in the rulemaking process? >> yes, congressman, i would. we have published this for public comment. we have a number of public comments and hearings, number people took into account all of the comments we received. >> the fundamental purpose of the four book your to create an accessible market for health insurance which meeks affordable care available to all, including expansion of medicaid and development of health insurance marketplaces and providing
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incentives for participation. all of these positions support the goals of universal access and a strong sustainable health care system. ms. emily mcmahon, do you consider the purpose of the law and drafted regulations? >> yes. yes, we do. the purpose of the affordable care act is to achieve universal health care coverage and affordable health care coverage in every state. >> thank you for that. thank you for coming today. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. with the previous questions you indicated that you know about this constitutional concern when you're putting together the proposed rule and on the then the final rule. is that correct? >> yes, congressman, we were aware of the question regarding
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federal exchanges and it would not characterize it as a constitutional question sirach but you knew that there was a controversy about how this would be interpreted and i was by the state? you that there is a concern and controversy? >> yes, we knew that the issue had been raised. >> what i am getting at, you are aware of it but you didn't think it would be a level where you would require a type of process to reach a conclusion. you just kept it within the same process that the irs has when it comes to establishing regulation >> became aware of it by reading an article. >> if you do anything different, did you do anything different than what you were doing before. you know, we followed our established process. >> what is that established process? you have the final say? is her group of people who say this is how the law should be? here is how it should work?
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that the group gives you a recommendation and i assume ultimately winds up on someone's desk and it gets the final okay. is that how it works? sumac process begins with an irs treasury working group whose staff continues the rotation of the code provision. >> is that working group a formal number or is it ad hoc? five people monday, 20 people the next -- >> usually at the beginning of the rulemaking process. people are identified as subject matter experts in that group comprises the working group for development. >> you know who those people are? you know names of the top of your head? >> as i said earlier, i can take that request that. >> you know of that group --
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where you had a letter that was signed by 24 members of congress, several doctors had signed it in others. you know that group would be reviewed at citing this issue, do you know if that was reviewed? >> i am not sure what letter you are referring to. >> we can make the number available. >> we will do so for members of congress. >> okay. do you know the proposed rule, which was august 17, sometime in august of 2011. is that right? >> yes. >> in this process we know that the director of implementation came on board in december 2010 to help implement the affordable care act and was this a process in making this issue
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determination? >> yes, she was involved in discussions about the development of this section. >> so there is one of the people that was involved. any other names? >> was dubbed showmen directly involved? steve miller? >> neither of those individuals was involved in the working group. >> that sarah was? >> she was not involved to the best of my recollection in the working group of lawyers. this includes implementations.
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>> bushey extensively involved in this that i do not know sirach thank you, mr. chairman. >> businessman, thank you for being here today. in november 2012 it was stated that a thorough neat and trim legal and knossos was not conducted due to the availability of tax exchanges because it wasn't one of the most significant issues considered in the 36 be regulation. with this also your perspective? >> congressman, i am not familiar with this comment. i can say from my own perspective we did consider this question a very serious issue. we have analyzed it. >> so you feel that you did do a thorough legal and knossos?
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>> yes. >> can you give me examples of what that was? what was the thorough legal analysis? >> well, members of the irs and treasury working group looked very carefully at the provisions of this itself. as well as other provisions of the affordable care act, including section 13 women and section 1321 which addresses the establishment of exchanges. making clear that the federal exchange is wanting to do the equivalent. there are others that relate to the advanced. >> was this something that would
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have enormous spending and locations? >> cumbersome and, we believe that our interpretation of the statute is consistent with the way that the affordable care act was handled by the congressional budget office. >> that is not the question that i asked. to the irs or treasury denied a 70-point back to whether congress may tax credits available only in this state-based exchanges? >> when we became aware of the question, we also became aware that i was the rationale being suggested. >> you have any evidence that they made this available for state created exchanges?
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>> congressman, in the course of our rulemaking process, we did look very carefully at all the legislative history related to the affordable care act. and we found nothing to suggest that the incentive rationale is what you are suggesting. >> he said there is evidence to support a thorough investigation. is there anything to show this? we are not feeling it. >> congressman, i would simply refer you to the letter that we sent this morning regarding a concern of additional documents. >> to the treasury create large financial incentives, such as in exchange establishment grant because of the cost of state
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creating exchanges and specific running funding for the creation of a federal exchange? >> coppersmith, i do not recall whether thamith, i do not recall whether that was explicitly considered during the rulemaking process. >> okay. on october 12, 2012, a letter was written on the tax tax credit rule and it said access throughout those, congress refers to this as exchanges established by a state and establish under the aca. there is no discernible pattern that says that congress intended the particular language to limit the availability of the tax credit. did you review this letter? >> yes, i'm familiar with the letter. >> okay, can you tell us how they search for a pattern for references to exchange and make exchanging obamacare?
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>> congressman, the irs treasury and attorneys looked through the affordable care act and examine all of the references to try to determine whether there was any particular convention that congress had used in regards to state or federal exchanges were both. as it indicates, we were not able to find that. >> working on a complicated rule is searching for a pattern like congress referred to under certain terms. would you expect them to categorize or organize these results? >> commerce and, as i have said, the working group did a thorough analysis. >> did you organize results?
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>> i'm not familiar with that. >> did you know that the irs is committed to the staff and if these exchanges are established and under the aca in any way? >> congressman, i am not familiar with the comments you're referring to. >> you think it is a problem that no one organizes all of the references with the exchanges under this as to whether it exists or not? >> congressman, the irs and treasury working group did a very thorough analysis and i am
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satisfied with their work looking at all of the relevant aca provisions. i'm satisfied with their conclusion. >> you can produce no evidence connecting the congress and, i would simply refer you to the letters that we send this morning in which we described our concerns with producing additional documentation. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. the first question is when it comes to the issue of availability of premium tax credits, which have been of interest since last fall, anderson i understand that treasury has responded to the majority by providing documents and briefings overview of sensitive documents since august
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when the chairman made his first request for information. would you account the number made a majority of this issue? >> we have received a number of requests for information both formal and informal. we have 500 pages of documents, including legal memoranda is and some of which we have made available and our staff has also met three times for a total of eight hours to explain a process and developing legal research and analysis. >> when it comes to all of those requests between you and your
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staff and your team, how could your response be categorized? you think you have been responsive? >> we have done the best that we can to provide the committee with the information that it needs. including answering questions presented by the staff and the number of documents, including memoranda is that describe our analysis. we are happy to continue working with the committee to provide information that you may need. i believe that today we have been very responsive. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i want to take the opportunity to enter into the record of this dated to dated
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july 21. addressed to the honorable -jul. addressed to the honorable carol i said. it is signed by the members. we could add that to the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. in addition to that we have more questions. i understand you and your staff have also participated in a number of briefings with committee staff. how many briefings have been held and what amount of times has this total for your staff? >> we have participated in three separate briefings. i believe the total time that our staff spent was over eight hours. >> in meetings? not including preparation. >> in actual meetings with committee staff. that is correct. >> isn't it also true that the treasury has made available the viewing of documents about
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redaction? >> yes, that is correct. some of the memoranda that we originally provided was rejected and it was part of those available. >> we are talking about the premium tax credits and how this relates. are the kinds of documents that the treasury has made available, >> congressman, this would be of
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interest to litigation. >> because those documents are of the same issue. is that correct? >> yes, the documents we have provided, at least in part relates the question. >> okay. my time is running short, but isn't it true that the plaintiff has not started process because there are questions about whether or not the lawsuit have changed? >> congressman, the department of justice is handling the litigation for the administration. i believe you are correct that this is at the early stages. >> it is a question, but i i seated as stated it as a truth and the fact. >> thank you. >> we appreciate you being here and we hope that one day we will have a republican administration, but i hope never to be in the chair where you
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are. that came a very expensive questions and i'm believe that we have a former commissioner who said he was absolutely satisfied. >> i know that's not the case with the debate, but he said that several times. working group did a very fair and office. i assure you that we had extensive discussions. and it is so important with my folks back home.
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do you remember when this conversation was beginning, do you remember this being an important issue. >> when the issue is identified, largely because we were the one that first became aware that some individuals were suggesting is a possible interpretation of the relevant provisions of the credit would not be available in a federal exchange. smacks of the work was already going on committee analysis begun. this was robust and established and then you heard that this might be an alternative
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interpretation? is that the time i? >> well, this was at the time -- we identified this issue and we are were also in the early stages. i would say in identifying a number of issues. if we don't resolve this in the affirmative, our entire vision of how these are going to be deployed across the country, but it will, unraveled. this is a huge decision. if you decide the other direction, folks in my home state of georgia are not going to receive any subsidies whatsoever. so this cannot be overstated. but if we don't get this right, we are going to sweep out the foundation on which the president's health care plan is established? >> i would say that we recognize
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that the interpretation would not be available on federal exchanges and it was inconsistent with the understanding. >> i am asking a very different question the manner you have a staff of professionals in your working record that this is not an ordinary sure. this is not age cannot claim this issue. this is the president's landmark social agenda that is going to be held to the statutory standard under which it was passed by congress and signed by the president is it your recollection the that was never a topic of conversation? that no one ever felt that that we have to get this right
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because otherwise this social agenda becomes unraveled? >> congressman, we have analyzed this question. >> i understand that and we have talked about several times. so i'm asking the answer to be something different. that is do you recall that topic ever coming out in all of the discussions that you had. all of those conversations that this was done properly. >> if the answer is no, that is okay. >> as i said, we appreciated the fact that the interpretation that you are suggesting -- >> i don't think you answered my question. can i get this over here? this is the analysis that i saw in that the proposed regulatory
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language. my friends are not burdened with implementing this and they have pros and cons helping us work through what the issues were and what the legal adoption lies. it is what i have gone from you all from the discussion groups in the analysis. it says that it may be interpreted to exchange established to operate in the state. can i ask you about the other exchanges? >> what are the other exchanges that this doesn't refer to? >> established for the exchange, what were the other exchanges
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about? what are the other exchanges that they could be interpreted as? >> in addition to the exchanges established by a state, they are obviously federally facilitated exchanges. >> i think that is exactly what my folks back home have said. which is why we have this language in here. there is no mention of that, mr. chairman, in the proposed red clearance package. i just find it unbelievable that as a freshman member on the committee, that i can't see the documentation was produced in folks to say it was an extensive discussion. for something that is the largest single value issued and what we will consider.
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>> i think the chairman. >> you are recognized. >> mr. chairman, i must say that i am deeply troubled by the attack approach that is taken by every member with the exception of you. you have shown great deference to the witnesses. you have spoke politely to them and you have asked questi@ you have spoke politely to them and you have asked questions in a manner that they can answer. this is not a courtroom. i think that bullying the witnesses that come before us is inappropriate as the colleagues that say here in an effort to try to find out information. having said that, i find it interesting that that we will buy some supplies the language
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on the lot and the regulations here on the portal tracts. but in the irs code that says that the 501 c-4 will be exclusively for the social welfare purposes in this country, then the irs comes in and by regulation changes exclusively, we haven't had one iota in delving into that issue. instead we have spent months looking at the irs and trying to find a link between the white house and the irs with the establishment of been conservative in nature. lo and behold the reason they were looking at them is because it is really hard to understand where that line has been drawn. but the discussion that went on
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earlier today about how it would be outrageous for a regulatory entity tube security statute, which is what the first panelist were talking about the most part. it is just kind of like it doesn't relate to the when it comes to the rs and i think that it's quite entertaining at the very least. dam, i think you for being here. you're you are not being treated any differently than any other administrative person that comes to this committee and is raked over the coals are my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. i regret that and i apologize. >> with exception of the chairman who has always shown great respect. let's discuss this issue. is it not true that this particular bill, the affordable care act, was debated ad infinitum in the congress of the united states?
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>> deliver distance away. we have a robust legislative issue. the senate debate last more than a month if in fact the intention was to take this relationship with the state. >> we have reviewed this, ma'am. we have reviewed this in terms of the floor debate.
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to try to find out if there was any discussion of the approach that you mentioned. and we did not find any discussion of that approach, but that was the approach that was intended. >> would this be something that would reflect poorly on members of congress that we would only want to give the values of a horrible health insurance to some people in the country and not all people in the country? >> congress woman, we believe that the affordable care act was intended to provide affordable health insurance for individuals across the country and we agree with that objective and we are doing our best to implement a manner of that is consistent with that objective.
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>> copious documents that have been reviewed by referencing a premium tax credit that will be offered exchanges in the state. it was not ever set forth by one that would be a benefit. is that correct? >> that is correct, we did not find any evidence in our review of the legislative history that there was any intent to exclude the federal exchanges of the tax code. >> we had a request for the chairman of this committee to the congressional budget office. the cbo said to the best of the recollection, the subsidies only be available in states that
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created their own exchanges. that we have this with a wide range of staff when the legislation was being considered. we have researched this issue as well. >> based on this congressional record, do you believe that this interpretation of exchanges was reasonable? >> yes, i believe it was reasonable and part of the better interpretation. >> thank you. mr. chairman, you have been very generous and i yield back. ..
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>> did you actually review prior bills before -- >> i believe that the prior bills were taken into account. >> isn't it true the house passed the same version of the obamacare that the senate passed?et me re it. let me rephrase it. isn't it true the house passedas the exact same version of obamacare as the senate passed?. i think it's an easy answer. >> i believe that's correct. >> it is correct. p >> isn't it also true that the house debate prior to the passage of obamacare and the can senate on december 24, 2009,evan cannott be considered relevant legislative history? prior to t,
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prior to december 24th, that history, prior to that, cannot be brought up. it's not relevant. >>, 00, -- >> i'm not sure we can -- i can make an equivocal statement. >> how long have you been in your post? >> i've been in my particular job at the treasury department for four years, approximately. >> okay. do you recognize that a search of the house debate prior to december 24th, 2009, was inappropriate and not considered relevant relative history. >> uh, congressman, i'm afraid -- >> the answer's yes. >> well -- >> the answer's yes. >> well, congressman, i'm afraid i don't understand the question. >> you're taking the prior information, taking what was actually debated op the house that had nothing to do with the
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senate version because what i asked you is, did the house pass the exact same version as the senate, did it not? it did. the relevant aspect does not apply. it is not inappropriate to consider that discussion prior to december 24th, 2009 in relation to what the law means. >> congressman, with all do respect -- >> see, i'm really having problems here because, see, i'm a dentist, and details are a lot to me. beauty's in the detail, and i'm having real problems here that we pick and choose whatever information we want to, and the facts that we want to. let's continue. in the briefings, treasury and irs employees told the committee staff that the review of the legislative history did not review -- include a review of the two antecedent bills. to the best of your knowledge, is it true that the review of the legislative history did not include the review of the antesee didn't --
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antecedent bills? >> congressman, i would have too back and ask that question to the treasury staff. i can't recall at this point the answer to that question. >> this is, i mean, here we're talking about something that i know a little bit about, about health care, about something to personalble to people that we ought to get this right. i'm going to ask again. are you aware that the antecedent tax bills on state compliance? >> congressman, i'm not prepared to discuss the antecedent bills, but happy to take the question back and provide you with an answer later. >> do you think this, the questions i'm asking are relevant? these bills, are they not relevant? >> mr. chairman -- >> i do not yield.
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>> congressman, i'm not suggesting that your question is irrelevant. you are obviously entitled to ask any question that you'd like. we will do our best. >> this is very important, don't you think? i mean, you know, in constructing this legislative agenda and looking at this, the beauty is in the details, and this is very pertinent information, very, very pert innocent information because what i see here is we have the senate bill, and it came over to the house, and they passed it verbatim, no changes because they couldn't afford the changes. that's where i want to go to next was this letter from the house. at the april briefing, you had with committee staff, you were shown a letter that texas democrats in the house sent to president obama, then speaker nancy pelosi, and the majority leader hoyer, and during that briefing, you stated that was
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the first time you saw the letter; is that correct? >> that is correct. >> did anyone at irs and treasury consider that unusual circumstances of the past, specifically the election of scott brown in january of 2010 met house democrats had to pass a senate bill they knew was flawed or did not pass a bill at all? you're aware of the numbers in the senate; right? it was not going to move unless it was exactly the same bill. >> i'm aware of, generally, of the process that led up to enactment of the affordable care act, but i cannot tell you in detail whether the particular political aspects that were considered in the manner that you're suggesting. >> well, i think this is very important, ma'am, and because it is very pertinent to the law because the senate bill is very poignant to state run exchanges.
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it doesn't talk about federal exchanges or the states that opt out. it only talks about state exchanges, and that's what's so interesting about this context. it is the beauty that is in the detail. we're not entitled to pick and choose if it doesn't exist in statute. that's why this is meaningful, and that's why we want answers to all the questions so i expect answers back. i yield back. >> thank you. ms. mcmahon, i have a separate question. it deals with the advance of the tax credit that -- those tax credits are sent out to those who qualify monthly. doesn't get sent to them, but to their insurer; correct? the qualifieded health plan? >> correct, to the insurance. >> i'm going to give you a hypothetical here to process through it. a person signs up, goes through the process, payments start getting sent, four months into
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it, and the individual stops paying their portion. the government's still continues to pay theirs, and the individual stops paying their portion. is there a system in place for the insurance to notify the irs to let them know, hey, this person stopped paying, and do we know yet how that's going to tucks? it's somewhat connected to where you are at, but do we know how it's going to work? that's a recent question that's come up. >> i -- congressman, that is an aspect of the implementation of the affordable care act i'm not personally involve with. the irs is handling, i believe, those sorts of questions. >> okay. it's an interesting thing to process. i didn't know if you were connected to the group and what it may be, and we don't know if they stop paying at some point how every's notified or what the consz convinces for that are or how it works. the reference we talked to a couple times about the exchanges
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piece, treasury's argued the exchanges in 1321 refers back to 1311 put them as the equivalent; is that correct? >> yes, that's correct. >> in the memo, that's the crux of the argument to say they connected it to in the reconciliation report, though, it lists them separately. it lists 1311 and a 1321 and keeps them separate, and i think part of the struggle we have is trying to figure out the reconciliation language seems to keep the federal and state exchanges different. they just don't refer to the -- if they are e qif slant, why refer to both and keep them separate? there's ambiguity in the law, and you were not hearing the earlier conversation, but there's this ongoing conversation about what does the statute say and what does the statute mean or what was the purpose of it. a couple times you referenced you felt it was the purpose of
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the law to provide the coverage. we struggle with what the text of the law says, and that's part of the challenge of it. you also mentioned you went back through the legislative history, and you couldn't find anything that had the characteristic approach. did you also find anything for the legislative history that you can recall about suggesting there be tax credits for those in federal exchanges? >> uh, in our review of the legislative history, we did not find any specific references to the premium tax credit being available in either state exchanges or federal exchanges is my recollection, our review of the legislative history was consistent with our understanding of the purpose of the affordable care act, which was that the credits would be available in all exchanges whether state or federally facilitated.
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>> okay. during the briefing, you mentioned the three different briefings and request for documents. it came up there's about 50 e-mails treasury considers privileged e-mails related to this topic. would there be a day at some point we can see those things even in camera to evaluate the 50 e-mails, or do you know why they are considered privileged information? >> well, mr. chairman, the letter that we sent this morning explains our concerns with the release of the additional documents. that being said, i mean, we are still in ongoing discussions with your staff about providing you with any additional information that you need and happy to continue the conversations. >> i know i dealt with council before, and attorneys, they have taken copious notes as the staff behind you is currently taking
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copious notes as well, rightfully so. it's the rights thing to do. that's the challenge of this. we know the notes would have occurred because it's important dealing with issues this large, and, obviously, $600 billion-plus decision is going to have some sort of note-taking through the conversation how it occurred and a track with it, and we'd like to have the opportunity to know how that functioned in the days ahead. with that, i recognize the ranking member. >> mr. chairman, i'm going to forego asking additional questions, but reserve my right depending on how the rest of the questioning goes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the -- i think the that's right, for everybody working in the executive branch, you deserve an apology. you deserve an apology from democrats who refuse to do good oversight and republicans who
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fail to do good oversight. that issue that is cited is spot-on. it's outrageous that the congress passed a statute that said exclusively, and we've been operating under an irs regulation that says primarily absolutely no one's doing anything about it. for the whrief of me, i don't understand how we advantage you in public service when we pass statutes and refuse to follow up and make sure those statutes are implemented. i want to ask my question again because i think you're proud of your team, and i think you're proud of the work your team has done, and i think only one of two things are true of all the discussions involved in on the issue. either folks have talked about how important this is to the president's agenda, and that we need to come down on that side of the issue in order to make that domestic social policy a reality, or those conversations have never occurred at all. it would be shocking to me that
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folks, we all like to work on a teamment i've sat on the same road your staffers sat on behind you, and we all want to see our ideas succeed, and we want to see the american people served. do you recall, in all of these extensive conversations, all of these aggressive reviews of this 600 to 700 billion dollar question, do you recall any conversation about how important it was to get to this interpretation because without this interpretation, the president's chief domestic policy agenda would crumble? >> congressman, i do not recall the conversation of this specific type that you describe.
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we have a thorough analysis of the statute, and we recognize the interpretation put forward, that credit would not be available on federal exchanges, what been a very different approach than was contemplated by the affordable care act. we appreciated it would have been a very significant difference; however, we analyzed the question applying long standing principles of statutory construction. >> i appreciated the answer earlier where you said "no reasonableness," this was not a reasonable interpretation, but a proper interpretationment we don't want folks to get to the reasonable interpretation. we want them to get to the proper interpretation, and i appreciation your emphasis on that. back to what was talked about earlier, and talk about tax
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codes treats states differently. i remember passing the sales tax deduction, and up until then, we had a deduction to state taxes to those who had state income taxes. if you didn't, you didn't benefit from the proposal. in the statute that we're talking about today we said if you do what we want you to do, you'll get the full medicaid allotment of dollars, but if you don't to what we want you to do, you don't get the medicaid dollars at all, contrary to the larger purpose of providing care to everything in america, not only will you not get care tomorrow, we'll take the dollars you use to get care today, and the supreme court said that was an outrageous use of federal power. seems like there's lots of examples in the history, and in our present of using the tax code to treat some people in some states differently than we do people in other state, and to use the affordable care act as a
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hammer, not an approach, but the stick. did you consider those things -- do you agree with my analysis of those two circumstances as they exist today, and did you consider those in the analysis that you performed? congressman, yes, we are aware of the provisions that you -- >> the stick approach opposed to the cater approach. >> as i said in the review of the legislative history, the floor debates, there's no evidence that there was any discussion of the carrot stick approach in connection with the premium tax credits. >> okay. but it is consistent with past irs practice to treat folks in some states differently than we treat folks in other states based on statute?
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only those with income taxes get to deduct income taxes, only those folks with state exchanges get to deduct insurance premiums? that's consistent with past practice. >> i -- congressman, you are correct that taxpayers in states that have no income tax are entitled to deduct their sales tacks. that is not an irs practice. it is a provision of the internal revenue code. >> because the statute chose to treat people in some states differently than it chose to treat people in other states. again, i thank you very much for being here. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i thank the gentleman. >> i'm going to thank ms. mcmahon for being here. you do the work under taxing circumstances, and we thank you for your service to our country. >> thank you, congressman. >> i thank the gentle lady. i thought for a second i saw a
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smile. [laughter] warms a dentist's heart. i'll ask a few more questions, and you're holding up well. continue that smile. prior to release of the proposed rule in august of 2011, treasury produced a proposed legislation clearance package august of 2011. in the clearance package, the issue of whether subsidies were available in federal exchanges was not mentioned. why not? >> congressman, i do not know the memo you're referring to or why the issue was not included in the memo; however, i do know that the issue was discussed and considered agtively before the issue of the proposed regulations. >> who at treasury produced the clearance package?
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>> i don't have it in front of me, but it was urinally -- usually the staff attorney who is the principle liaison to the irs treasury working group that works on the regulations. i think the memo that you're referring to was produced by david who was that attorney at the time. >> can we make sure we have that access, please? that answer -- make sure it's specific. i know you gave us the answer, but you were kind of unsure. >> yeah, i can certainly -- >> thank you. you were part of a team that briefed the committee staff in april on irs expansion of tax credits and federal exchanges. do you recall rebecca or your staff telling committee staff that in the early stages there were no real discussions of whether tax credits would be available in federal exchanges, and a conclusion was made that tax credits were available in all states? >> congressman, to the best of my recollection, what our staff
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said at that briefing was that originally the working group had assumed that the please , premx credits were available in both states and federally facilitated exchanges because that was consistent with their understanding of the affordable care act; however, when we identifieded this question after reading a press dealt article at that point there was discussion the of the question and analysis performed. >> as a follow-up, if 1311 and 1321 exchanges are equivalent as the administration argues, why was it necessary to mention both sections 1311 and 1321 in the reporting requirement added by reconciliation?
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>> congressman, i really don't know why there was a difference in the language usedded in the reporting provision that you site and other portions of section 36b as i said. we did look at not only 36b, but other provisions of the aca, and we were not able to find a clear pattern for when references to exchange or exchange established by a state or federal and state exchanges were used. >> i guess my point is, if they were the same, wouldn't mentions 1311 be sufficient? i mean, i'm also one of those clear path of least resistance, two points of reference. they are all the same. 11 # 1 #, that's all you'd have to do. it shows us a mon cor.
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>> there's other provisions that refer simply to an exchange including provisions relating to advanced payments of the tax credit in determinations of elogy jibility for the premium tax credit and the term "exchange" is defined broadly to include both state and federal exchanges. >> but the senate bill was about state exchanges, not about federal exchanges. did they reference exchanges because they intended exchanges to be treated differently? >> congressman, i, our interpretation of the sections 1311 and 1321 was that, in fact, congress intended them to be
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functional equivalent, of -- >> so i guess mypoint -- not to interrupt you here, but i have to -- the senate bill talks only about state exchanges for the subsidies so it's very pertinent. this is a sticking point. see, we have this balance, judicial branch, executive branch, and legislative branch, and what we have to do is when we write poor legislation, we have to acknowledge we have poor legislation, and we can't have the judicial branch or executive branch stepping in messing into that. it has to go back and be redefinedded. there's consequences for writing bad language. do you understand that? we can't go in here with the judicial branch going and intercepting the legislative branch. it doesn't work. that's where we are in a sticking point right here. do you understand that? it seems like we're missing --
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there's a bunch of eggs here, mixing them right and left, lemons, oranges, everything in the basket. we looked at details on house legislation prior to december 24th, 2009, and, yet, the house passed the exact same version of the senate bill. that's what -- this is where the problem is. this is kind of the sticking point on this one. prior to your april 2013 briefing with committee staff, did you raise a point that the law referenced exchanges established by the senate under section 13 #11 only when congress made requests for state for actions? >> i'm sorry, congressman, i'm not sure what you're asking. did i raise this question when? >> did you, in april of 20 # 13, this year in april, did you raise the point that the law referenced exchanges established by the state under section 1311
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only when congress was making requests for states for action? >> congressman, we considered the language of 1311 and 1321 in conjunction with our development of the proposed regulations which occurred in 2010 and 20 # -- 2011. can you do follow-up for evidence you may be able to provide along those lines? >> congressman, i'll take the request for additional information back, and we will see if we can provide you with additional information. >> i would hope so. before it was ruled unconstitutional by the supreme court that the pac withdrew all funds to states that did not extend medicaid, withdrawing all medicaid funds in noncompliant
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states is inconsistent with the purpose to make health insurance affordable for all americans who can want otherwise afford it. fuls the decision to withdraw medicaid funds consistent with the purpose to expand health insurance? >> congressman, i'm not an expert on medicaid, but i believe that the particular provisions relating to medicaid and the situation you describe were well known at the time of the enactment of the affordable care act, and the consequences to the states expanding or not expanding medicaid were discussed at the time. >> so did you -- do you see any parallels? did you personally see any parallels how we restricted or looked at the medicaid funds to states for parallels to
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exchanges in the states? >> congressman -- >> is that part of the analysis of it? >> as i said, we did not find any eve in the legislative history that congress intended a carrot and stick approach with respect to the premium tax credit. in contrast to that, the provisions you describe relating to medicaid were discussed and debated at the time of the passage of the affordable care act. >> so you recognize that looking at this law that there are applications that wouldn't actually expand insurance under this law, health insurance under this law? do you recognize that? >> congressman, the purpose of the affordable care act overall -- >> i don't -- with that purpose, i want your personal evaluation.
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there's inadequacies here that stymy health insurance for individuals. do you agree with that? >> congressman, we are concerned, obviously, that states that choose not to expand medicaid -- >> well, even those states that take it, there's a problem here. do you not see that there's a conflict in the application of the law how we apply this there's inadequacy about how we actually get insurance to individuals. isn't there individuals that are going to be hurt by this law in gets health insurance? >> congressman, unfortunately, i'm not an expert in medicaid, and the medicaid program is not wherein the jurisdiction of the treasury department. >> okay. let me go to this. was the wrawm of medicaid funding discussed by the irs or treasury in the analysis?
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>> i'm afraid i don't recall whether that question was specially discussed. >> if we can ask staff to follow up on that. i have two more, okay? prior to your april 2013 briefing with committee staff, anyone at irs or treasury bring up that the reconciliation bill explicitly created e qif lance between territory your exchanges and exchanges established by the senate and state? >> congressman, i'm frayed i don't know the answer to that question either off the top of my head. >> will you supply the answer to that? >> i can take the question. >> yes. last but not least, a smile time, anyone at irs or treasury consider congress as they did with u.s. territories could offer tax credits in federal exchanges through reconciliation
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>> congressman, as i've said, we believe our interpretation was consistent with the provisions of the statute as a as it was finally enacted. i don't know, personally, whether the working group considered the language of the antesee -- antecedent bills in their analysis. >> thank you, i'm going to yield back to the chairman of the full committee. >> you're nearly done. this is almost administrative, but i'd like to go through a couple of things with you. you used the term, just now, perhaps you could repeat it, you tried to work consistent with the final enactment of the bill. repeat what you said or i can have it read back. >> i believe what i was trying to say was that in our rule making process, we analyzed the
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affordable care act in the final form in the manner in which it was timely enacted. >> okay, well, let's take that because you're a political appointee, your job is to do the bidding of the president, the people who did the analysis, i assume, are political appointees who did the bidding of the president. the president wanted the affordable care act, and, clearly, wanted it to be as broad as could be even when states pushed back and said, no. is that a fair statement at least from this side of the dee ya? >> with all do respect, i do not believe -- >> are you a political appointee? were the others primarily political appointees? >> no, in fact, they were not. the working group of tax lawyers that did most of the work on development of these regulations included career irs staff
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attorneys, and the office of chief council, and nonpolitical staff attorneys in treasury's office. >> great. where the hell's the paper on that? quite frankly, you claim to have sent me 500 pages. we got 384 pages, and 145 of them is the proposed rule itself. where's the analysis? congress doesn't agree with you. at least the house of representatives, that your rule is consistent with the law. we asked for the analysis. you stone walled us. where's the analysis? >> uh -- >> are we going to get into deliberative process? are we getting into how you decide to make a decision not supported in the law, and you will not give us papers to tell us where effectively that is? are you prairpedded to tell us you have full discovery when you say there's career lawyers working on this? where are the notes,
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recommendations, analysis that we asked for? >> mr. chairman, the chairman of the treasury department sent a letter to you and others this morning that explains our concerns of relating to confidentiality and sensitivities related to the ongoing investigation, and concerns relating to your requests for additional documentation. that being said, his letter did describe the documents, additional documents to the ones you have seen discovered in our internal search, and -- >> well, let's go through your search. $600 billion the bill costs, and there's 50 e-mails responsive to that.
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is that really what you're saying? did you know use e-mail for the treasury? >> mr. chairman, i have not personally reviewed all of the documents discovered. >> okay. it's very possible there's more documents? >> mr. chairman, i simply don't know. i did not perform the internal search. that was not done -- >> okay. let's go through it. the deliberative process behind in this letter that arrived in anticipation of your being here, i suspect, your letter also requests informations concerning dlibtsive process -- deliberative process behind 36b regulations. in addition, you describe a telephone conversation with treasury staff from march 2013 regarding such information. we disagree with your description, but we've given us no information. i'm going to send you back with a couple of things here today. one of them is this body has
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every right to the most sensitive information, period. now, we, every day we have state department deliver us classified information related to benghazi. people cleared for classified information go through that. if treasuriments 20 make -- if treasury wants to make sure that information known to be such that you do not want it subject to release because of ongoing litigation, tag it. bring it in here. let us look at it. if i do not get either in camera all discovery or hauling it back and forth as appropriate and full disclosure, not only will i issue a subpoena, but i'm going to have to do a lot more. the american people are about to spend more money on this
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program, perhaps more than any other program launched in its infancy. this is very expensive. you mentioned medicaid. obama care is effectively simply a federal pays both sides large medical program. that's really what it's becoming. the federal taxpayers will be on the hook for huge amounts of money. all we're asking for is that you obey the law as written, and you provide us information when we believe that you created a rule that the last panel couldn't find language to allow you to have that interpretation. you said here said under oath, that, in fact, you had a significant number of people, career professionals, who did analysis. you've begin this committee no such analysis. i'm sending you back very simply. you were pretty close to a useless witness who came saying
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"i don't know," and if history is of any indication, the things you said you'll take back for the record, you won't come back with any answers. you didn't send 500 pages. you didn't send 386 responsive pages. you acceptability almost nothing. the american people, if they are going to spend trillions of dollars, and if they're going to have mandates that are not within the language of the legislation, they deserve that analysis. they deserve it to be nonpolitical. they deserve it to, in fact, have come out of something other than political appointees figuring out how to circumvent a change in the house of the representatives. it's that simple. thank you for being here. do you have anything in closing? >> no, mr. chairman. >> and now live to the brookings institution here in
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washington, d.c. we will shortly be hearing from u.s. trade representative michael froman. .. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> can you hear me? so i'd like to welcome everyone to brookings. i'm a trustee, and weir very honored to have ambassador froman with us today. ambassador froman just assumed the role of u.s. trade representative in june, and before that, he servedded in the white house as the assistant to the president and deputy security advisers for economic affairs. ambassador froman is a long time friend of brookings, spoken here many times, been a participant at the bloom round table on global poverty for many years, and it's currently taking place, and other senior brookings leadership are there, and so i'm very -- i know that they are
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sorry to miss this morning's session. this is the first time ambassador froman is speaking at brookings in this capacity, talking about the africa growth and opportunity act, also known as agao. it was signed into law in may 2000 and offered african countries that open their economies trade incentives with the united states. it's set to expire in 2015, and it's one of the defining pillars of the u.s.-africa trade relationship. the office of the u.s. trade office relationship plays a key role on its extension. brookings has just issued a report written by the africa growth initiative here at brookings on agoa, and that's
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distributed this morning. the title is "the africa growth and opportunity act: growth and possibilities post 2015", examining the different ways in which the legislation may or may mote move forward after the current legislation expires in 20 # -- 2015 so this discussion is especially timely i'll turn it over to talk about the africa growth initiative. >> thank you very much for the introduction, and welcome mr. froman for -- thank you very much for joining us. i guess the last time we were here, we were doing this time of year, reviewing aspen discussing poverty, and now we are talking about trade, which are not
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necessarily connected, the same. i want to start by asking you on the appointment, and we look forward to discussing with you when you were at the white house. i want to get this conversation started. africa is becoming increasingly important, and if you look at the u.s.-africa trade relationship, how would you characterize it? you know, is it good? poor? is it requires improvement, or how do you feel? >> well, thank you. first of all, thanks very much for having me, and it's good to be back at brookings, and i'm enormously grateful to brookings for putting out this report because, as you say, it is very timely. this is very good time to start looking at agoa with the analysis and report we want to see in the process that i'll talk a little bit about. i think to answer your question,
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the trading relationship, the economic relationship is good, but it could be much more substantial. i think we should start by recognizing the success of agoa. our two-way trade has more than doubled. our exports to africa have tripled. nonoil exports to the u.s. tripled. it's supported by some estimates, 1.3 million jobs in africa, and by all the met tricks, -- metrics, it is a significant success. we have to be frank. the numbers are small, and we have another face of agoa to see what we can do to build upon the success of the last 13 # # year -- 13 years and take the relationship even further. i was in africa, as you know, recently with the president accompanying him on the trip, and everywhere he went, the issues of trading investment came up, the underlying theme of
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the trip, and agoa was there. we look at agoa, look at the successes, and where to take it going forward. >> very good. just to ouch on -- follow up on the trip with the president, which we have been waiting for a long time, and pleased the president made the trip to africa. when you visited africa, what did you get talking to after af, whether it's the business community, politicians, what did you get from them and what their expectations are about u.s. and africa? >> we have to put it in the context of how much changed in the last 15 years and what's going on in africa now. i talk about how the economists once had a cover that was talking about the lost continent, now talks about africa rising, and the fact that six out of ten of the growing economies in the world are in africa, that you have a whole new codray of leaders, not in
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every country, but most, willing to put political will behind economic reform, putting economic skin in the game to devote to food education, health, build systems moving off humanitarian crisis. there's a lot going on that is new and different and noteworthy there. just to answer your question, when the president was there, everywhere he went, there was an emphasis on this is not just about aid anymore, but also about trade, not just about assistance, but also about investment, and whether it was the private sector or government officials or young leaders or jurists, all of their input very much went to what do we need to do to continue to build and create the economic environment or private sector led growth for stronger relations within
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african countries and africa and major markets around the world. that reforms our effort there. >> okay, great. the president has now about three-plus years more, and what do you see as a big -- now you just got in as u.s. trade capabilities, and what do you see as the big theme or some key issues that will probably make a difference, or how do you think the president will make a mark or legacy in africa? >> first, i think we want to build on some of the work we've been doing in the last four and a half years on food security, for example. the president really put food security back on the global agenda four years ago now, in july, at the summit in italy when he mobilized 22.5 billion dollars to support around the world, launched feed the future here in the united states, and then when he chaired the g8 summit in camp david in 2012, launching the new alliance for
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food security and nutrition taking our food security initiative to a new level and partnered with countries to engage in reform and partner with the private sector mobilizing more than $4 billion in private sector commitments for the part of the program. those programs are developing, countries are joining, and we want to see that move further and faster through the continent. there's the health agenda we'll continue to build on where we can now, for the first time, turn the corner on hiv and aids to the possibility of an aids-free generation. as the president noted while in africa in the trip, we have to move beyond that, and that's where he launched power africa and trade africa. power africa, the goal of which two-thirds of africans don't have reliable access to affordable electricity, and the goal is to double access going forward and mobilizing, using
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government resources to mobilize private sector investment, working with the partnered government to put in place necessary laws and regulations to bring greater electricity around africa, clean energy as well, an important force multiplier for education, health, economic productivity, safety, security, and so it has tremendous, broad benefits on economic development. finally, trade after ri -- africa. sorry i'm taking so long to answer the question. there's a lot on the agenda. trade africa is a number of components. one is focusing on regional integration, working initially with the east african community, but also with the other economic communities to help deepen their economic integration efforts, implement their customs, work -- negotiate with the other economic communities, make it a free trade area, but focus on issues like borders, trade
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facilitation, how long it takes to get something from port to market, and take those other costs out of the system so that africa producers can become more competitive and trade more with each other as well as the rest of the world. >> okay. thank you. let me turn back to angola. you talked about the agoa, and diplomacies not yet achieved. particularly, you are going to talking about the african government, agoa is expiring, what do you think of this? i know when the president was in africa, he could say he wanted to have agoa extended so the question is how do you see the extension, and what form or what do you think should be changed in agoa? >> like the president said, we want to see the seamless renewal
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of agoa, and it is important for people to know whether they'll advance and benefit from the access to the united states, and whether they maintain their investments and add to them. we want a seamless renewal of agoa, but we have a little over two years now before agoa expires. we want to use this period really, as i said, look at the successes of agoa, but also ways in which it can be improved, also look at changes in the continent, the changing economic trade relationships that develop between africa and other economic partners in the world and what changes to make to agoa before working with congress, and, obviously, congress plays the critical role here in figuring out what kind of agoa we want to renew. >> yeah, i think that's a very good point about making sure this advances opportunity. i think we were very surprised when it came to the country's
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position, which renewed the last day before it expired, and, of course, as investors, look at agoa, they want to make sure this actually happens before. now, in ustr, what do you see as the main law in ustr in this process, particularly, in supporting trade in africa, what are the goals that you focus on? >> we're going to very much focus on agoa and this review process, which we hope to launch next week at the agoa forum. we'll work with our interagency partners as well to ensure that we're bringing a whole of government approach to expanding the relationship, and in addition to my trip next week to ethiopia, we expect that the commerce department will go to africa some time in the next year, secretary lew are all
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planning trips to africa over the next year or so, and that's part of implementing the president's sub-saharan plan to strengthen. we'll focus on agoa, trade africa, relationship with the east africa community, implementing that, working with other, for example, working on bilateral agreements to ensure we're resolving outstanding trade issues and doing everything we can to strengthen the economic and trade investment relationships. >> so there's a lot of things doing business with united states, europe, and all the other countries, one of the key benefits comes from internal trade. the treaties with africa, a lot of benefits so that is the focus
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on the east african community, but what are you doing in general to support integration in africa, key for africa's development. >> absolutely key, as you say, and when you compare sub saharan africa to other areas in the world, the amount of trade is really quite low, and so there's great potential there to strengthen the trading relationships. through initiatives like trade africa, we'll work to break down barriers at the border to make logistics and other systems more efficient. it takes -- there's many reports on the matter, but takes far too long to get a ship unloaded at the port, and those products movedded from port to the border of the next country. there have been some mappings, roadblocks where you find 40 roadblocks between the ports and the next -- and the next border, and we have to work with the governments to try and reduce the number of roadblocks,
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literally and figuratively, and when they get to the border, the two custom systems don't talk to each other. they are based on different systems. what the usaid is working hard at is work with the countries to put in place, first of all, an i.t. system that allows custom services to share information with each other, and over time, hopefully that helps move towards a single custom system with a revenue-sharing arrangement. they've already taken a number of difficult decisions agreeing to the customs agreement and moving further along with regional integration, but now is the time to implement the decisions, and we want to be a partner of theirs in helping them do that, and as the others negotiate with each other, create a continental wide free trade area, we stand ready to help them in that area as well. >> that's good. i think the focus on integration is important, but one day within
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the u.s. government agencies and focusing on immigration, so i think back it's key to africa's growth, and i think i'll turn to the audience to see what they have. we have just -- thank you very much for that opening remarks. first of all, this is a public event, so anything you say is on record, so don't come back and say you didn't mean it. [laughter] then, second thing, we have few minutes, and he's preparing for the meetings, a lot of things to prepare, so we have -- right now, we have -- we have a few minutes for discussion. when you ask the question, be very specific. i'm going to constrain your questions to agoa. forget about all the questions
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about the resolution about what they did at the white house, but focus on agoa and be brief, so can i take those questions? i'll start with steve, and, please, be very quickly, and then i'll go -- >> steve, manchester trade, probably being the oldest person here, i remember bob's days when he came, a good white house contact. i cannot tell you how much the trade community and african community waited for this. we're happy you are here. you want to improve agoa, but first you want to listen, which is a good point. two or three quick ideas on the table for you to think about. first, most important thing, regional integration, talk to the european friends and say at the same time as you do the tea tip with them, please don't undermind efforts in africa by dividing africa up as you may be doing with economic partnership agreements.
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secondly, please bring the whole of government approach also to congress. there were so many good initiatives, if you could put them all together in the same way as you did in the administration, that would be absolutely fantastic, and, three, the am bar dos -- ambassador's report that came out is excellent listing recommendations in the beginning of the report, and if we can discuss them in agoa, the stake holders are here, that could be positive. thank you, begin, for giving us 15 minutes on a very busy day. >> i'm not looking for anybody else to give that talk other than steve. [laughter] very brief questions. >> well, first of all, thank you very much, brookings, for organizationing this conversation, and, actually, i don't have a question. i am talking on behalf of the african ambassador's group, and because you're talking about agoa, and i'm happy, steve, already gave his total
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endorsement to the recommendations that the am base -- ambassador's group came to in the report of agoa. to work out together with all ambassadors and also include the private sector people, representatives from the civil society, experts, officials from the usdr who have attended informally, officials from the state department, and all the rest of it, it has been inclusive, and it has also been endorsed by the annual meetings, the recommendations you have made. what we are saying, in brief, that after consultations and after quite deep thinking, we've come to the conclusion that agoa should be renewed at least for a period of 15 years, and the third -- the story of the agoa
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should be made and extended for the same period, and, also, enhanced political dialogue and started by president obama, and we want more of that. there are many other recommendations. thank you very much. >> okay. let me give more guidance. we want to get as much as possible from the ambassador. i know you get representation, but i'm -- if you know some of the questions, please, okay. very direct. then i'll go back. >> well, thank you very much. my question, directly, is what are you doing, secretary, to ensure that the congress passes our recommendations, the act, renewed as soon as possible? >> okay. so let me go -- i'll take another. >> sure. >> okay. the gentleman over there. >> hi, i'm kevin kelly, write for the nation media group in kenya.
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one of the premises of agoa is to determine good garch nans and develop economically. how do you weigh governance factors in the renewed agoa, but specifically in the country like kenya, the national leadership under indictment for crimes against humanity. thanks. >> let me ask this gentleman here, please, a question, please. >> i am dr. nissa with the american league, and i have my one question is that china's also very much in africa, well entrenched. do you think the pace at which u.s. is moving into africa is enhancing trade? how will you compare that with the approach of chinese with the approach of americans, and, also, what is -- what do you
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think -- why not to include even more countries in this group when you were already doing trade? >> okay. the first question on agoa, you pretty much answered on working on the extension, so you can add on that, but the bigger question there is on china and africa. >> good. well, fist of all, just to take up the question directly, we are already beginning our conversation with members of congress and interested members of congress about agoa, and they'll very much be part of the review process, a process to consult closely with them to build support for agoa when it's time to resubmit it. i'm delighted that, for example, senator isakson from georgia will be -- is planning on joining us in ethiopia next week along with congressman bath from california. they'll be participate and participate in the agoa forum as
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well. we're already beginning that process. you know, i think on -- let me try governance and china. governance is absolutely a critical part in the overall effort, and it's something the president has underscored more generally and launched the ownership government partnership, for example, now with over 50 countries that have joined to put in action plans about transparency, accountability, and anticorruption. this is something emphasized everywhere, emphasized when he was in africa, meeting with jurists and when he met with young african leaders in south africa including others from around the continent. governance is very much a focus, part of the consideration for agoa going forward, and then on china, you know, i refer you back to what the president said when he was asked about this in africa. from our perspective, this is -- it is good of china and brazil
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and turkey and india and europe and so many other countries are interested and involved in africa, and the question for africans is what kind of trade and investment relationships do they want to have? it's up to them with outside partners ensuring it works for them, and we're very much confident because as we travel around africa, as i did last year to a number of countries, and then, again, back again this year, and as much as the chinese are there, they want americans to be there as well because they know that our companies, they bring technology and management training, that they hire locally, that they like to build local capacity. so delighted to see a yen deny kenyan woman be the general manager in nairobi, and when i went to praises where there was
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investment from the u.s. and other countries, people underscored that when the americans come in, they hire locally, train locally, and not just taking resources out of the country, but interested in investing in human resources in the country, and that, to me, is a great landmark of the involvement there. we're not going, but discovering we've been there for a while, you know, we've been there for a while, and agoa is a great indication that 13 years ago, we made a major commitment to the region. we'll continue to build on our presence there. we're encouraging. we have been doing business in africa campaigns to encourage american firms to be more involved there. i think a number of businesses i mentioned will likely involve the private sector in trade missions and help deepen the relationship between sub-saharan africa and the united states. it's well part of the overall agenda. >> the gentleman there, and
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opposite, and then come to this, yeah. >> thank you very much for your remarks. i'm based in abujah, focusing in west africa, two commodities that are key for africa seen in the report here. one is cotton and the other is peanuts. can you with renewing agoa in 2015, can you sphear that those commodities get 1 is -- 100% to the u.s. markets because based on the report here, the countries in west africa are not benefiting that much from agoa. i'd like to hear your remarks. thank you. >> thank you very much, that gentleman there, and -- yeah, then i'll come to you. >> thank you very much, ambassador froman, i'm a former member of the imf, two questions
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on agoa. first, the brookings' report that just came out, in fact, seems to suggest that it is not a good thing to extend the benefits of agoa or agoa-type benefits to other poor countries in the world. what is your view on that? i mean, my own view that, of course, it's good to support africa, but is it good to withhold similar benefits to other also poor countries? second question is on the use of agoa as a political instrument to force changes in some after n countries, a couple countries come to mind, a recent case is the agoa for madagascar. the unemployment increased enormously, a couple hundred thousand more people unemployed, poverty increased 10 points to 17 to 18. what is your view on that, and what is your interpretation of what is called a coo or a popular call for change? thank you. >> okay. the gentleman there, those three gentlemen, yeah.
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>> thank you very much, and we're delighted that brookings is honoring mr. froman. i am the chair of the agoa civil society. i would -- i have two questions. one is regarding trade africa. there last week with colleagues in africa, and join us in the planning session, and one of the key points that was raised by colleagues is how do we ensure that when agoa is extended, that the issue of supply side constraint is fully addressed. we have 6,800 articles on agoa, and we've seen few of them used. what is usgr doing on that trade africa to ensure that african civil society included in terms of what working with the parliament -- just as we are
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doing here in the united states -- to remove the supply side con statement? -- constraint? thank you. >> thank you. that gentleman. >> i'm bob, a consultant. how is the interpret used in your operations to get more transparency and get the private sector funding in and have open meetings? >> good. ambassador, these are very good questions. one of them has to do with product eligibility. i think we have been making arguments about what happens about peanuts, for example, and when you are -- prices go up high, all that, but there's cotton and peanuts issue, and what have you to be on the question of the benefits to bangladesh and cam bodians to see how you answer. >> these are good questions, so let me try to take them.
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i think with regard to specific products is, obviously, there are sensitive products, every country's got them. these are -- this is the kind of input we want to take, and as we look at agoa as a whole in the context of what we do in gsp, what we do in other mechanisms, we want to look at all of the possibilities, and then see where the sensitivities are and how they can be managed. i'm not going to commit to you now, but we'll have cotton and peanuts, and it's important to have the input, and as we look at it, we look at these issues as well and how best to manage the sensitivities around them. on the other countries question, it's a very interesting question, and it happens, also, as we are negotiating tpp or ttip, or other free trade agreements as well with countries in which we have ftas raise questions new impact ftas have on preferential access.
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poverty everywhere is of concern, but we have to figure out how to move forward with the antipoverty agenda without eroding benefits we already granted to countries in sub-saharan africa. it's one of the issues we have to look at in the context the gsp and the other programs as well. on the political issue, i really go back to the answer i gave on garch nans. i-- governance, and it's the same approach we take on a number of other areas like mcc and how mcc implements it. we fundment tally believe sustainable economic development requires good governance, and we want to encourage good governance as a key part, the rule of law and the like, as a key part of a sustainable economic agenda, and so it will be an issue, i imagine, in how we consider managing these programs as well. on the supply side, the supply side constraint, i think it's a
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very important point because the -- one reason we focus on trade facilitation, for example, both in geneva, the bilateral agreement, and what we try to do with the east africa communities and other communities in sub-saharan africa, it's a recognition that our tariffs are probably the least important cost imposed on an export from sub-saharan africa. it pails in comparison to the transportation costs and logistics costs, and as you say the supply side constraints of getting a product from farm to market or market to the global marketplaces. we want to look at this holistically to see what we can do to make the area competitive as a whole to take advantage of agoa and other programs around the world and participates in the global market. with regard to the internet and transparency, it, obviously, we're -- we are looking very hard at the whole issue of
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transparency, how to ensure we use all the tools at our disposal to communicate effectively with congress, with stake holders, and with the public more generally, and i imagine that will be part of the agoa review as well. >> thank you. i think the issue of this political conditionalities is something that needs to be addressed, and the reason we argue there needs to be a change in the way the provision is is when you have a part of a region of an area of change, going past other countries, becomes ineligible, you break the production chain in other countries, and so this is an issue that we think that you may. to look at more seriously if there's allowance to give for six months, one year, for them to be hit so that you can so
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this gets broken and there's negative impact in other countries. okay, another round of questions. go for the back now. >> american georgetown school of business. you mentioned agriculture products. what about metals? copper, iron ore, value added processing and manufacturing in those sectors? i understand they are sensitive, but nevertheless building the manufacturing sector in africa ought to be priority, and agoa can help drive it. >> okay, anybody else in the back? >> yes, i just was hoping you could explain with maybe a little more detail the scope of the review, what specific areas
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are you going to be looking at is it just product coverage, but, you know, can you explain with a little more detail what you hope the review will include? >> okay, yes. >> could you give us sort of a preview of how the meetings will be conducted, will some of the issues regarding country graduation be discussed openly or confidentially? >> okay. why don't you take those? one more round, but get those ones. >> great. well, i think in terms of the review itself, i wouldn't. -- wouldn't want to preempt my speech next week at the agoa forum, otherwise you wouldn't pay attention to it. i'll lay out details then on how to conduct the review, but the intent is not just looking at product coverage, but to look at the issues that have been raised
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here, including how does it relate to other economic arrangements, you know, what are the criteria for graduation of either products or countries? how do we think about preprosty, and how does it go to other trading arrangements, and how does the coverage and scope of agoa relate to the other barriers between what's going on in africa and their involvement in the global market place? we expect it to be a broad-basedded review, not simply what kind of product covers that it might be. i think the gentleman's point about manufacturing, i think it's a very important point because, again, one of the messages heard loud and clear on the most recent trip is countries want to climb the value-added chain, do more manufacturing of their raw materials in country and get more of the value, and they'd
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like to make sure their trading arrangements with us or other major trading partners around the world reflect their priority, that priority of theirs, and so i imagine that's one of the issues that gets discussioned in the context of this review. >> you mentioned the trade, and the arrangement, would you maybe comment on eps? >> no, i don't think i would comment. [laughter] no, let me simply say we have followed with great interest our european colleagues are doing and their approach to this. we have taken one approach, they take another approach. i think part of the review and dialogue will be around what are the lessons learned from different approaches? how do they interact? what do we think about that? i will say, and it came up while we were in south africa, the
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fact that south africa has a free trade agreement with the european union currently implemented. you have stake holders who are raising the question of why we should allow south african products in the united states under agoa duty free when our countries face a competitive disadvantage in terms of access in the south african market. that's one issue to discuss, part of the overall discussion. >> okay, very good. we have one more round of questions quick. the gentleman there, yeah. >> thank you very much for coming. i'm an independent consultant. there's discussion of certification with respect to transparency, governance, and so on like the dodd-frank precisions on minerals. these certification discussions cover increasingly broad
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categories of commodities. do you see in as part of the agoa talks? >> okay. any other question? yeah, first -- >> [inaudible] >> if you are serious about considering -- if you consider supply side ideas, i have to put on the table that you have to change the origin rules so you give correct to a product where africa doesn't produce the final product, but make an input along the value chain, and that's one idea on the table. i think if you look at the tabs, you find out in the agricultural products, for example, tobacco, the duty is 350%, similar rates and other products, and i think in a few agricultural products, but, again, i don't want to ask too many questions because you want to hear, but nevertheless it's one issue well worth looking at. in terms of conditionty, i think
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we support it, but we really believe there should be more emphasis, perhaps on peer pressure, working with the countries themselves, the idea of u.s. taking unilateral action, so, again, is that a way to address the issue, keeping our values, but making sure we're more effective working with other countries in terms of getting something done. nothing's worse than mad madaga, not only do you undermine the supply chain, but 50,000 seamtresses out of work and the thugs running the government. thank you. >> an interesting question there, although i didn't get it. [laughter] i got more questions here so we can -- >> great. >> yeah. >> i think to steve's question -- we'll take them all on board, and be effective as we can as we seek to promote democratic values and governance reforms. with regard to dodd-frank and the lugar amendment, the only
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thing i add is i'm not sure that's part of the agoa discussion, per se, since so much part of the u.s. law is being litigated, it's an issue for regulation, for the fcc to deal with, but it's been an important innovation in terms of requiring greater transparency in a sector that is the source of growth, but also the cause of some governance issues over history, east african we -- and we want to do everything we can to bring transparency to the sector. >> okay. maybe two more questions, two final questions. yes, the gentleman in the back. >> al, am media. the other issues u.s. even involve -- have been involved in, particularly, with aids, how much intersection is there with trade and what you're involved
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with? >> so that was one -- is it aid? not aids? aid or aids? >> aid. >> okay, one more. i guess that was sort of part of the health program. yes? >> good morning, and thank you, again, for being here. the company has already been manufacturing on the continent for more than 50 years, we're interested in what you have to say about the role you think for u.s. manufacturing on the continent and how to be a partner with the u.s. government advancing more opportunities there. >> maybe following up on that, there have been some other proposals in congress about
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increasing american exports to africa, and how are you looking at this? you know, how do you see this tieing up with agoa or the u.s. initiatives that would increase the benefits in terms of exports to africa? >> well, thank you. i think in terms of our overall approach on health, we view health and food and power and trade as part of a coherent, comprehensive development agenda with africa, and so there's no direct linkage between one or the otherment only that we want -- other. only that we want healthy, growing economies educating their people and have the electricity to power their economies, trading with us as well, and that's what we want to see all the parts of the government, of our government working with all the parts of their government to make that come together.
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i think the example of png is a good one, and, in fact, when i was in abuja last year, there was a ribbon cutting on a 250 million plant there -- >> [inaudible] >> october, fantastic. i think the more u.s. companies make those sorts of investments and see success and are able to demonstrate that success to their other american company counterparts, one of the great things -- one of the great challenges, i think, that africa wrestles with is the gap between real risk and risk reception, and there are real risks. we have to be frank about that. there are tremendous problems and challenges in sub-saharan africa from security to economic and social and govern nans, -- governance, but there is a time, it's not a homogenius place as you know.
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nothing breeds success like success, and to the degree american companies are going in, making sizable investments, and being successful at it, that can be a very positive carry over effect on to other countries as well. we're certainly encouraging of that, that's a little bit what our doing business in africa campaign is about, the trade missions about, that people will be leading over there, and that's very much a dynamic we want to underscore. i think to your point about other legislation and other support, we're going to be looking at all that, and, obviously, i wanted to consult with our colleagues on the hill as we look at agoa, but also look at their ideas how to expands the u.s. economic relationship in sub-saharan africa. there's a lot of interest up there in sub-saharan africa. both in supporting the economic development there, but also very much as a market for u.s. investment, u.s. exports, and that's why i want to make sure going through the process, we do so in a way that maximizes and
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strengthens the bilateral relationship. >> very good. we almost coming to the end of time, but i wanted to go back a little bit on the trip that you took very briefly. one of the accommodations we have been making here, the previous subjects is we want to see president obama with a cabinet full of business people, and you can get high level meetings with the president of china. african presidents, and now that's going to happen next year. >> correct. >> do you think president obama has changed his view, or has something happened in the last few -- there seems to be a reconsideration of interest in africa, strategies -- >> well, look, i think he's always had a very strong interest in africa and development is one reason at the beginning of the administration he took on the issue of food security. that was not limited to africa,
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but a big focus of it was there and launched feed the future initiative with secretary clinton and shaw at usaid. it's one reason he did the new alliance, very much focused on sub-saharan africa, at least initially, and had a very interesting meeting at camp david at the g98, not just with african leaders, but the private sector. first time there was a meeting like that to talk on food security. that's the same approach. he's taken the power to trade africa as well. there's a long standing interest and commitment, certainly impressed and encouraged us to be as aggressive as we could in developing initiatives for supporting
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>> the state lawmaker who filibuster the texas senate to block an anti-abortion bill for more than ten hours will be at
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the national press club this afternoon. senator wendy davis will talk about the political climate in texas and her future plans. you can see her comments starting live at 1 eastern on c-span. and then live at 7:30 eastern, the new jersey democratic candidates debate. newark mayor cory booker faces hush holt and frank pallone as well as sheila oliver, and that'll start at 7:30 eastern, again on c-span. and all this week at 7 eastern here on c-span2, it's an encore q&a. tonight, nasa administrator charles bolden. he talks about his experiences as an astronaut and current duties working for the world's largest space agency. >> for me to say that the house
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has done something right. i'm teasing about that. the house, they're fine. but they've actually passed some of this, and i think that we ought to look at what they've done and, certainly, if we want to take a stab at doing our own thing in the senate, that's great, but we need to get moving on this in the senate, and this is a real threat, it's a real problem, and all of my colleagues who are on the intelligence committee -- i'm not, but they all lay awake at night worried about cybersecurity. so we need to get this done. it's imperative that we try to get this done this year. >> technology and internet issues on capitol hill tonight on "the communicators" at 8 eastern on c-span2. >> we've never really known what to do with our first ladies, and that is particularly true in more recent times as on the one hand they're expected to have causes. you can't imagine a first lady today without a cause. on the other hand, those causes are not permitted to intrude
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upon law making or an official capacity. so it's always been a tight rope. and seeing how each of these women walk that tight rope tells you a lot not only about them, but about the institution and about the society that they represented. >> this week we begin our encore presentation of our original series, "first ladies: influence and image," looking at the public and private lives or our nation's first ladies. this week martha washington to angelica van buren. first ladies weeknights all this month starting tonight at 9 p.m. eastern on c-span. and during tonight's program on martha washington, join in the conversation with historian and author patricia brady at facebook.com/c-span. >> senators dick durbin and tom harkin recently hosted a forum
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at a middle school in ames, iowa. it features dreamers, children brought to the u.s. illegally. friday's town hall meeting took place in the district of republican congressman steve king who faces criticism for his comment against immigration legislation. cosponsored by senator dick durbin with. this is about an hour, 15 minutes. [applause] [applause] [background sounds] >> thank you all very much -- [inaudible]
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we'll move along here. thanks to all for being here for this extremely important topic and one that -- [inaudible] i appreciate the applause which is for my good friend, dick durbin, senator durbin. [applause] [inaudible] >> it was 12 years ago when we first started on the dream act, so, senator durbin, thank you so much. [applause] well, as i previewed this morning, i'm reminded of a famous incident involving
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president franklin roosevelt. he was addressing the daughters of the american revolution, and he greeted them with the words: my fellow immigrants. [laughter] likewise, this morning two united states senators are hosting this forum. we are both sons of immigrant mothers, and so we proudly greet you with the words: our fellow immigrants. [applause] and a very special welcome to the many dreamers here both on the stage and in the audience. for nearly two centuries, waves of immigrants have come to iowa to build their own lives and a much better iowa. my mother, as i said, was one of them. in 1921 she 'em dated from a tiny village in the country now known as slovenia. she arrived at the port of boston and never to see her homeland again. but she was welcomed by iowans with open arms and made a part of our society. but today our immigration
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system's broken. the vast majority of americans know it. it doesn't work for immigrants who want to help build a future for themselves and for a better america. it doesn't work for our workers here who see their wages undercut by a shadow economy, and it doesn't work for our businesses who need a stable and quality labor supply. and the great majority of iowans want a better system. they support an accountable reform that allows families to come out of the shadows, earn their citizenship by paying taxes, remaining employed and contributing to their communities and the economy. that's why the united states senate, i'm proud to say, passed the border security economic opportunity and immigration modernization act of 2013, otherwise known as the immigration bill, on a strongly bipartisan basis. it improves border security, it requires employers to verify work authorization, it unites families, it offers an accountable solution to bring undocumented families out of the shadows into our communities and our economy.
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according to the immigration policy center, the state of iowa, our state, is losing $18 be a year in state and local taxes by not offering a pathway to citizenship. in 2010 new immigrant business owners in iowa have total business revenue of $216 million. as i travel around iowa, small towns and communities, i see so many new businesses, small businesses, main street businesses opened up by our new immigrants to this country and to our state. common sense immigration reform, according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office, will add to our economy and, get this, it will reduce the deficit by nearly a trillion dollars over the next two decades if we have immigration reform. [applause] president obama, he met with us again this week, is eager to sign this bill into law. i'm hopeful the house of representatives will take up the senate bill and get it passed,
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and with that i thank you all, and i'm going to turn to our leader on this issue. as i said, 12 years ago, he's been on this a long time. our neighbor, senator dick durbin of illinois. >> thank you very much. [applause] thank you. it is great to be in ames, iowa, home of iowa state university -- [cheers and applause] the alma mater of tom harkin. [cheers and applause] a proud cyclone. we do have a lot in common. a lot of corn and soybeans in our neighboring states. a lot of immigrants to our neighboring states who built it into what it is today in iowa and in illinois. and we have a broken immigration system. i think we know this. [applause] and it's time for us -- [applause] it's time for us to face the reality that if we can fix this
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immigration system, we can build the american economy, and we can do the right thing. [applause] twelve years ago, twelve years ago a i don't think woman contacted my office -- a i don't think woman contacted my office in chicago. her name was teresa lee. her mother and father brought her here at the age of 2. she live inside a very poor family. her mom worked at a dry cleaning shop in chicago. she, even though coming from poor circumstances, got a break, something called the merit music program gave her a chance to learn to play the piano. she wasn't good, she was great. and by the time she graduated from high school, she had been accepted at the julliard school of music and the manhattan conservatory of music. she was filling out the application with her mom and came to the line that said nationality, citizenship. and she turned to her mom and said what should i put there? her mom said, i don't know. i brought you here when you were
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2 years old, and i never filed any papers. the young woman said what are we going to do, and her mom says let's call durbin. [laughter] so they called my office, and we checked the law, and the law was very clear. teresa lee had to leave the united states for ten years and then apply to come back. it didn't sound right to me. you know, a lot of us drove here to this meeting this morning. some of you might have had passengers in the car, maybe even children in the car. if you got caught speeding, you don't expect the child in the backseat to also get a speeding ticket. that's what was happening to teresa and so many like her. came here as a child, spent their lifetimes in the classrooms of america pledging allegiance to the only flag they've ever known, singing the only national anthem they've ever known and then learning that legally they weren't part of this country. so i introduced the deem act 12 -- the dream act 12 years ago, for her, for teresa, and
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for a lot of people just like her. i want to tell you the end of the teresa lee story, because it's great. two families in chicago took pity on her and paid for her education. she graduated from manhattan conservatory of music. she played in carnegie hall. she ended up marrying an american citizen, jazz musician, and became a citizen herself. and now she she has just depletd her ph.d. in music. we're a better nation because teresa lee is here. we're going to profit from her as we will from so many dreamers who bring so much, can bring so much to this country. well, here we are today, and we are facing the dream act and its future. there have been some characterizations of the dream act that are just not fair. there have been things said about these young students and young people that just aren't fair at all, and that's one of the reasons we're in ames, iowa, today. you're fair-minded people in iowa. so are we in illinois. you'll look at the facts
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honestly. and you want people to say honestly what they tell 'em. and what you're going to hear today is that these young people have so much to offer us. we include in the dream act in this comprehensive immigration reform bill. it was the strongest version of the dream act ever written. and it will give these young people a chance to make a dramatic contribution to this country. i went to the floor of the senate 54 different times to tell the stories of dreamers with color photographs. it used to be they wouldn't come forward and tell their stories because technically, they were subject to deportation. but over the years they stepped up, and they realized if this cause was going to be one that won over america, america had to know who they really were. and they've done that. sometimes at great risk. they could have been deported telling their stories, but they knew that there was no chance to move forward on this issue unless they were willing to take the risk.
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there hasn't been a single issue in american history or of any other countries involving civil rights or human rights where young people didn't step up with the energy and the idealism that really led us to the right place in america. [applause] their parents -- they deserve a round of applause. [applause] scared their parents many times because they were coming out and telling people who they were, but they did it. and luckily, we have a president who understands that. he passed this deferred action -- [applause] he deserves a round of applause. [applause] he passed this deferred action deportation order, signed it, and gave them a chance to apply to get deferred action and to stay in america without fear of deportation under his executive order. about a half a million have done so so far. they've submitted their backgrounds to the government, they know that if they haven't
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graduated high school or have any serious criminal background, they have no chance whatsoever. that's written into the law, it's written into the executive order. so the suggestion that these are petty criminals or drug smugglers, it just doesn't square with the reality of the dream act. and that's one of the reasons i wanted to come here today. you're going to hear from eduardo rodriguez and hector who's here, and they're going to tell you what life is like as a dreamer and what their dreams are for the future. that's what this is about. to really focus not only you and iowa, but the nation on doing the right thing, fixing this broken immigration system in a just and fair way. as you'll find, this isn't an easy path not for the dreamers or for anyone who steps forward. first, they have to register with the government. second, they've got to pay a fine. starts out at $500, it ends up being $2,000 before it's all
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over. they have to pay taxes on any dollar that they earn. and at the end of the day, at the end of ten years with no government benefits, they have a chance, a chance to become citizens. almost two-thirds of the people that live in this congressional district support a path to citizenship, two-thirds of them support it. [applause] it also turns out that it's good for america. not just that we revalidate who we are and where we came from, but it's good for our economy. it's going to help us grow the economy, reduce our deficit and grow jobs. you know, if anybody's surprised by that, take a look at who we are and where we are today. all the immigrants who came to this country from for-flung
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locations -- far-flung locations have made america what it is. those people who ignore our legacy and basically our roots really ignore the values of this country. [applause] you know, we are better -- [applause] i'll close by telling this story. i went back to my mother's hometown in lithuania. she never got back. she never returned, but i did. and i saw the church, catholic church where she was baptized, and they showed me a well in the village where all the villagers drew their water even when she was there. and i thought about it for a moment, and i thought what it must have been like that night when the family called in all their relatives and friends for the big announcement. they had decided that they were going to leave and come to america. they heard about some lithuanians who made it to a place called east st. louis, i'll, and they were doing pretty well. [laughter] so my grandmother said i'm going
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there first, and if i can find a job, bring the kids. he left, he found a job, called for my grandmother. she came with three children including the first born in my family, my 2-year-old mom. came over on a boat, landed in baltimore. somehow caught that train to st. louis and got off in east st. louis where i grew up. i think about that story because i wonder about the people who were sitting around that house that night when they made the announcement they were going to america. i'll betcha a nickel a lot of them when they left that house and started walking home were shaking their heads saying what is wrong with this family. they're leaving their good home here, they're leaving their church, they're leaving their relatives, their family, their language, their culture, their dog, their cat, their chickens, and they're going to a place where they don't even speak the language? they'll be back. no. they never came back. that's my story. that's my family's story. that's america's story.
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there is something in our dna about these immigrants who had the courage to get up and come here, really to fight against great odds to succeed here. and that's what they did. that's who we are today. we should celebrate it, we shouldn't apologize for it. we ought to build on it to make an even stronger nation in this country. thanks, tom. [applause] >> oh, thank you, dick. thank you. [applause] thank you, dick. well, dick, thank you very much for that, and thank you for your great leadership. folks, i want to reassure senator durbin and anyone else who may be tuned in on this that we iowans, we iowans are a welcoming people. we are a compassionate and caring people. [applause] we do not -- [applause] we do not believe in
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characterizing people with hateful, spiteful, degrading language. we believe that every human being has worth, and we believe those who want to come here to work, to build a better life are not criminals. they are people who want to build a better life for themselves and their families, and we ought to be finding a way to help them do that here in america and here in the state of iowa. [applause] now, senator durbin referred to this, but i just, again, i want to make a point. there was a poll taken this last wednesday by something called the american action network that showed that 68% of voters in this district, iowa's 4th congressional district, support an earned pathway to legal status. and again, this poll was taken by the american action network. i said, well, who are they?
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well, it's conducted by a republican firm that did the polling here in this district. so that it wouldn't be seen as a bias one way or the other. in this district, in this district 79% of the voters responding to this poll would support a plan that would allow a path to legalization, a path to legalization, 78%. and the poll said nearly three-quarters said that immigration reform is a very important issue. so 70% back a path to legal status. so it's overwhelming even in this congressional district. even in this congressional district that people in this district want immigration reform be, they want this mess cleared up, they want these young dreamers to have a part in our society. and just because one person, one misguided person uses language that is degrading does not reflect what we believe in the
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state of iowa. [applause] and now let's hear from some dreamers here. eduardo rodriguez came to the u.s. from mexico with his parents. he was 1 year old. okay, well, you're older than that now, you're grown up. [laughter] shortly after his family was in sioux county, iowa, where ed attended elementary, middle and high school before going on to graduate from northwestern college, a local private christian university, with a degree in sociology. since receiving his work permit through the daca program -- now, we haven't talked about that, but we will -- ed has led after school programs for at-risk youth in sioux county. and then we'll call on eduardo and then go to hector, the youth
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outreach coordinator for the immigrant voice program at the american friends service committee in des moines. after graduating from dowling catholic high school -- again, my alma mater -- in the 2011 and realizing that he was undocumented, he committed himself to joining the movement to pass humane immigration reform and helping the general des moines latino community. due to his tireless dedication, he was featured as one of 13 people to look out for in 2013 by "the des moines register" as well as winning the 2013 warren a. morrow leadership award. hector is currently studying law, politics and society at drake university. he aspires to be an immigration lawyer working with and helping the des moines immigrant community. we welcome you both here. and then after those two we're going to hear from lori chesser who is a senior attorney and chair of the immigration department at the davis brown law firm, a law firm with offices in both ames and des moines, and lori represents both
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individuals and businesses in immigration-related applications. and then we'll also hear from nick harrington who is a union representative of the ufcw local 222 in sioux city, and he is, he became a union steward, but he left, went back to school, took business and marketing management and then after his time in school he returned to ibp in august of 2001. and in his time there he was a union steward, an ergonomic monitor, a member of the safety committee, and he's worked in all the different areas, and now he's a union representative after 12 years. so we'll hear from nick. and reverend barb dennon will then, we'll turn to her, an ordained you woulder of the united methist church -- methodist. currently pastor of trinity methodist church in des moines. a congregation of latino
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immigrants. so we'll go down this road and, first of all, again, we're going to turn to eduardo rodriguez and tell us your story. >> um, first of all, i just, i'd just like to say that i'm very thankful for this opportunity. i didn't want tell a single soul -- i didn't tell a single soul until i was 21 that i was undocumented, so to be here and feel so supported and loved is just amazing, and it's a huge blessing, so thanks to everyone around this table. i really appreciate it. [applause] i guess my story is i was born in mexico, and my parents brought me over to the states when i was a year old. we settled in california for three years, but after that we lived in sioux county for the rest of my time here. that is my home, i grew up in orange city, iowa, i've been there since first grade until i graduated from college, and i
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love the cornfields, and i love even sometimes the smell, i know -- [laughter] but that is home, that is where i feel comfortable, and it's been great to see the way the community has changed over the years. when i first arrived there, it was me and my cousins who were the only latinos at the elementary school. but as the community has changed and more and more newcomers have come, it's become something a lot different, and it's i think something that can be such a benefit to our communities as we see almost one in four elementary school students now in the local school systems where i live. and when you see -- [inaudible] spring up in small town iowa, it's been such a huge change, but i think it's also been such a huge boost in benefits to the local community, and it's just
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exciting, the times that are occurring right now. and i think that it's something that senator king needs to be -- or the representative king needs to be very aware of that his district is changing and that people are beginning to build relationship with the local immigrant community, and they're realizing the struggle and the hardships that they're going through. and i think that is what is drawing people to this issue, is relationships and people and stories. and that is what is powerful. and i think that is something that's missing from representative king's speech is the human aspect. because i doubt he knows any dreamers or any undocumented immigrants and their stories the way he talks about them. so i think that's just something he needs to come to realization to, is that his district is changing, and he needs to be more in tune with what is occurring because it's vastly different than the picture he's
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portraying. and i'm just excited for what is happening here, and it's very encourageing, and i'm just very excited for the bill that the senator has been working on, and i think that now is just a very exciting time, and it's just the excitement is building, and i just really see this as a huge opportunity for this, you know, bill to come through. so i'm just really excited and thankful to be here and, yeah, thank you so much. [applause] >> okay, hector, tell us your story. >> all right. before i start i first want to thank the senators for being here, the fellow panelists and you yourselves as well as the iowa dreamers that are present. make some noise, iowa dreamers. [cheers and applause]
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i also want to on behalf of my committee i want to hand some things over to both senators. one would be american friends service committee's idea of immigration reform as well as a packet of about 437 postcards from different iowans throughout a couple past months author in worth -- who are in support of reform, who want this reform to happen. most of these are in representative latham's district, but several of them come from the representative who represents this district. so first off, i want to give this to representative -- senator harkin and senator dick durbin. [laughter] [applause] and one last thing, i'd ask that both senators please sign a postcard which is really easy to do, just sign your name, so here you go as well. >> this guy's organized. [applause]
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my boss told me to do this, so i had to do it. [laughter] all right. so i guess my turn to tell my story. my story is similar and different to every other dreamer's due to the fact that when my family came to the united states, we came on a tourist visa. my earliest recollection was us being on the greyhound bus at the age of 3, and i remember my little brother -- my now big brother -- my little brother throwing up on the bus, on this greyhound bus. [laughter] so i've grown up in iowa since i was 3 years old. i'm originally from mexico. my mom was a lawyer in mexico, my dad was a firefighter, taxi driver, you know, he did any job to bring money to the family. and due to the economic situation in mexico, we had to, you know, come to the united states. my family originally planned to be here only for a couple of years, but the situation in mexico deteriorated even worse, so we decided to stay.
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i was not aware of my undocumented situation, my undocumented status until i was getting ready to go to college. essentially, my end of junior year at dowling catholic high school. and my dad told me i was coming back from hanging out with my then-girlfriend, and he pulled me -- he's like, hector, i want to talk to you, come with me to the car. and he basically told me the story of how our tourist visa had expired while i was still in elementary school. at that time i said, all right, no big deal, you know? i'm going to be fine. i don't really need to drive or anything. [laughter] but as i graduated dowling, i realized that i couldn't go to a state university, i couldn't go to, you know, continue on my education due to the fact that i wasn't eligible for state scholarships, i wasn't eligible for federal grants or federal loans, i wasn't eligible to the things that my classmates were. i then took the initiative,
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along with my fiancee, tess, who's out there -- [laughter] to go and visit american friends service committee where the legal service director explained to me my particular situation. understanding my situation and everything that it meant really opened my eyes to what i had to do to overcome this situation that i faced. so since i've graduated dowling, i have now just completed my associate's degree at community college, and i will now be attending drake university, and i have dedicated myself in my spare time to reach out to other la latino youth to engage them and tell them don't letted your undocumented status prevent you from achieving your goals. [applause] for myself i, thankfully, i want to give you a shout out to my family, thank you for sending me to dowling where they really
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drilled it into you that education is key for your future. you really need to get educated, and you really need this. and throughout the entire time i've been in the u.s., i've always heard that message: education is key. and we need to continue educating ourself, and even though we have this undocks united status, thankfully i got deferred so i'm okay, you know, for a couple years, we can't allow ourselves to fall in this rut where we think everything's going to be fixed or we can just lay in the background and just have other people take the initiative. we need to be out there in the fore front, we need to be engaging our representatives, our senators, we need to be out there and telling the iowa people, telling our representatives especially the representative who represents this district and my representative, representative tom latham, that we are here. we might not get, you know, media coverage like the dreamers in california or the dreamers in the eastern coast, but we are here. we are present. we've been here for several years. i want to give a thank you to senator dick durbin for
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introducing the dream act back in 2001. in 2001 i was 8 years old, roughly about third grade. i had no idea that something that had happened so long ago would have an impact because my participants believe the dream act passed, and they would not have had to tell me i was undocumented. i am here because of the nonpassage of the dream act, and for me to be here now 12 years later looking back, it really shows how we need to come together, and we need to keep advocating for this comprehensive immigration reform, because we really need this. i don't want to wait another 12 years and have my, you know, my now 9-year-old brother turn to me and say, hey, hector, what happened to immigration reform? how come you're still undocumented? what happened? i don't want that to happen. i want to tell him, sebastian, we were at the forefront of this struggle, and helped to pass it along with other latino leaders. and i really want this reform to
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happen. and i want to tell our representatives directly, you hold basically the power to do that. you hold the power to say we want to bring this up to a vote, house representative, house leader boehner, we want to bring it up to a vote. and for me, my point of view is what are you afraid of? if the bill doesn't pass, you know what? the latino group can say it didn't pass, we need to look forward, we need to move on. but if it does pass, we can rejoice. that's not the end of the struggle. for dreamers here in iowa, we need to continue even if this bill completely fails and what not, we need to continue with this struggle for iowa. right now those with deferred action, even myself, we still can't get federal loans, federal grants. we still can't get those scholarships. we need to continue that struggle. the struggle to get our driver's licenses was difficult as well, and the whole emphasis that we need to continue moving on, because if we don't stand up front, if we don't tell them,
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hey, you know, i may be an immigrant from another country, but i am iowan, and we deserve the same rights that you do. if we don't do that, then all this won't be -- will be for nothing. we need to continue moving forward, we need to continue fighting, need to continue telling our representatives, calling them and telling them we want this reform to happen. iowans want this to happen. as senator harkin, as senator durbin said,, 48% of this representative's own district want those reforms to happen. i can say i and other dreamers want this to happen for all of us. [applause]
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[applause] >> boy, that was great. wow. let's see, so hector's going to be a lawyer. lori chesser with the davis brown law firm, you better keep your eye on this guy. [laughter] so, lori chesser. >> thank you, senator. thank you, senator harkin and durbin, for bringing a spotlight to this critical issue, to iowa at this time and, of course, thank you to eduardo and hector. you're a very hard act to follow, so, but i'm certainly not worried about competition. we need all the, we need all the good immigration lawyers that we can get, and we need all the dreamers that we can get. now, i'm here today really not as an immigration lawyer so much as a representative of the business community because i've spent the last 20 years working with businesses that bring immigrants to the states to work
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in various capacities. .. >> but that 5% is really a critical percent, because immigrants complement the u.s. work force. and going forward, which is what i think what we really have to stay focused on when we're talking about immigration reform is the future as was the past and present. but we really have to look to
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the future. going forward, immigrants will ballet a particularly important role in the workforce in the u.s., but even more so in iowa. in iowa they're doing a lot of work between businesses and education to prepare i was workforce for the future. and the majority of jobs in the future will be what they call middle skill jobs. and mittal steel jobs typically are filled by the native u.s. work force, so to speak -- middle skilled jobs. we will need immigrant workers to fill particular segments that can't come that are not being filled by the is workforce these are big issues workers are defined for jobs or that their special skills that are needed. and so we have to keep in mind that we are facing as a country and this is where i will be season, is on the cutting edge maybe the bleeding edge, we are
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facing the retirement of the baby boomers. and as the baby boomers started to retire, they will continue to retire, then they will age, then unfortunately some will get sick. we have to think about all those needs going forward. we need to back fill for the jobs the baby boomers leave, but we also need of workers that will fill jobs created by economic growth and other opportunities that we are all hopeful will be in iowa and america's future. and so recent studies have shown that throughout the united states, but also in iowa, that all growth in workforce in the next 30 years will be attributable to immigrants. because of this demographic of retiring baby boomers and the generation coming after them. and, of course, also as i think senator harkin alluded to, we also need to not only fill jobs that are currently here but we
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need to create jobs, we need innovation. and this is where immigrants have really contributed to america as well. immigrants are more likely as a group to start businesses. immigrants are more likely to have a patent when they are working in the high-tech industries and that than nativeborn counterparts. and then finally, we have to remember that we live in a small world. we can isolate america from the rest of the world. and that's true for our economy. and so, therefore, our economy is not a zero-sum game. our workforce is not a zero-sum game. businesses and workers adapt to changing policies and changing circumstances. and so we work with the rest of the world, but we're also in a sense in competition with the rest of the world for exports, imports, and for workforce. so immigration i think from the business perspective or should be viewed as a precious resource, for many reasons.
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many, many cultural and many, many other reasons, you know. but also economically. and we need to make sure that that is managed well both now and looking to the future. and so we look forward to working with the senators and with the representatives as the business community to really form immigration law that will help everyone, help immigrants, help the dreamers of the dreams are such a critical part of our workforce needs going forward and, of course, our communities. i certainly recognize people as people but also just want to bring out this economic aspect as well. because it's important the well being of everyone. and so we look forward to working on that and have an immigration bill that will really work for iowa and for america. [applause] >> thank you. hi.
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perhaps i was remiss in not adding that lori is also a member of the greater des moines partnership's workforce development board and is engaged in developing their immigration policy. lori is also the vice chair of the american immigration council, a policy focused national nonprofit organization. so thank you. and again, i'm going to now go to nick harrington, a union representative from local 222. just double checked with the senator durbin. from the business template, the u.s. chamber of commerce, supports the immigration bill. businesses get it. they know how important this is for the economic vitality of america. and was also endorsed by the afl-cio. so labor understands it also. so we think both the business and labor committee for supporting the immigration bill. [applause] >> so, nick, nick, you've been
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involved in ufcwiu all the packing house workers and stuff and it's been my expense as i have to within. i didn't work. durbin did. he worked in packing with them worked his way through college, he worked at the meat counter and packing houses. a ica i see more and more of our latino community working in our packing houses, meatcutting of places that you represent. so please, tell us about that. >> well, i'm with ufcw local 222 out of northwest iowa. we have packing house in cherokee iowa and dakota city nebraska. together that is close to roughly 5000 employees, and i was a 75% of them are latino. >> seventy-five? >> yes. so 75% of our membership through who we represent is latino and immigrant workers. so again, good morning ladies
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and gentlemen, of the panel and audience, senators. i'm honored to be here today to talk about an issue that affects us all. these united states, our united states have been the place of dreams and opportunities for immigrants for hundreds of years. this dream lives today. the opportunity to achieve this dream has become tarnished by political rhetoric and partisan politics. comprehensive immigration reform must create a path to citizenship. there are as many as 11 million immigrants aspiring to be americans, living and contributing in the united states today. this must be streamlined for dreamers were brought here as young children with immigrant parents. these people are part of the drive and the will of our economy. they open shops, restaurants and stores. they work in fields, factories and in meatpacking. giving the lifeblood to the
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middle class like the irish and german and other immigrants centuries before. congressman king has made comments about immigrants that are wrong and offensive. congressman king also feels that today's immigrants in some way are substandard, compared to everyday americans. well, let me tell you as a real blue-collar iowa i started working in meatpacking at one of the world's largest beef plants at the age of 18. as a young man fresh out of high school, i had never been around that environment that meatpacking involves. i worked many jobs with most of the men and women being immigrants. unlike some would have you believe, the immigrants pay their taxes just like me. [applause]
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>> they pay their insurance just like me. and most important, they were working for a better life for their families, just like me. [applause] >> in my years of working in the meatpacking industry, in the last four years of working at the union representative, i can tell you immigration reform will improve the standards for all workers. it will help end the exploitation of any worker. [applause] it will help reunite families without living in fear or being separated for up to three to 10 years waiting to try to bring their families here legally. [applause] >> friends, brothers and sisters, this current system is broken. every american worker deserves
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fair pay. every american worker deserves the opportunity to live this dream. the dream of our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers. now is the time for america to create a modern 21st century immigration system. now is the time for reform to create an effective mechanism during the employment eligibility and reform must not be piecemeal or incremental. it must be comprehensive and timely. [applause] >> this is our chance. our chance to make our mark in history, getting today's american dream or a fair and equitable chance to become an american citizen. i leave you today with a quote from a labor activist cesar chavez. once social change begins, it
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cannot be reversed. you cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. you cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. you cannot oppressed the people who are not afraid anymore. [applause] >> we have seen the future, and the future is ours. thank you. [applause] >> wow, that was powerful. [cheers and applause] >> that was really good. well, that was powerful. thank you. i guess, i just thought of this.
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in a, i happen to be a meat eater so i just got to think of it every time you pick up one of those chicken wings or a chicken fingers, or you pick up, you've got those barbecued ribs on the grill or your cooking that stake, just think, chances are three times out of four that that was done by a latino working in a packing plant someplace that provides that. [applause] >> reverend barb dinnen. barbet? >> i, too, want to thank you. thank you very much for bringing us together. thank all of you for being here. my panel, i really don't need to say anything because they said it all, and very eloquently. we come together because really what we're talking about is people and how government policy affects people. people who sometimes are not visible. people who sometimes intentionally remain hidden out of fear.
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and because of the role i have in the community as a pastor in the united methodist church serving a latino congregation and an inner-city congregation, i see that impact daily. the fear is real. in the old days, in 2006 we had the raid and in 2008 with a horrible rate in postal. everybody saw, everybody knew hundreds of people were being rounded up. treated unkindly. inappropriately. not given their civil rights. we had hearings on that. and now i ask people, so to know about what's happening to these immigrants from those people who don't have working documents? lots of folks don't but that doesn't mean it's not happen. and so we see what's happening to real people through a
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government policy that we want to make good for the common good, right? that's the purpose. immigration reform will help people not be fearful, and it will help our community and our businesses. it seems to me to be a no-brainer. i don't get it, so that's just where i continue to say. but i see people, i have a family, for example, that live in fear. for little girls, their citizens. their mom and dad are not. because the little girls know that the angle of air was arrested and and a leader was arrested. the little girls say, mommy, mommy, don't let them get you today. they live with that daily. or they said, you know, we had a fire in our kitchen but we didn't call a fire department because we thought maybe the fire department might turn us into immigration. now we know that's not going to happen but that's the fear they live with. they don't do things that they
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can, because they live in fear. so this change in our immigration law can only be good for everybody, in my mind. you know, i did come from a faith perspective. that's william. and all people -- that's who i am. all people who come out of religion, jewish, muslim, or skin, they have an ancestor called abraham who was a wandering man. and often shunned people who do bible studies and all that, do you know anybody in the bible who didn't want her, didn't emigrate, didn't migrate? any? please, i stand that way. please. [applause] and i've had professors say yeah, there's one but that's not a good example. sodom and gomorrah. you don't want to go there. okay, all right.
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[laughter] so i stand, it were people of faith, if we are people who want to be good for the community, i don't get, i don't get it. and i'll remain that. people want to become citizens. our english class can we have a little english broken daughter church. each user run 10150 people. as soon as people heard that there was going to be a possible immigration reform, we have 270 people last year. we can't contain the there's not an english class in the des moines area that still, do the math, people want to do whatever it is that they need to do to become a citizen. they are taxes. learn english, learn english. take citizenship classes, guy. what do i have to do? we have a know your rights, what do you need to do to become -- it really went like this. if the immigration system is change, is the law changes, what will you need to do to get
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prepared? we had 80 people there, people want to know. so i thank you very much for your attempts. please don't give up. we are here behind you. how can we help you. this is good for i would this is good for the united states. it's good for the world. so thank you. let's keep going. [applause] >> i think what you just senior israeli what -- just really what you senior, represents iowa. we have the business community, the labor community, the faith
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community, our new dreamer community, political leaders and people of all political stripes. this is not a partisan thing. this is not, never has been in the past. it shouldn't be today. it should be something that brings us all together to recognize that we have a broken system. and we need to fix it. and we work very hard in a bipartisan fashion in the united states senate to craft a bill that is supported across a wide spectrum the business, labor, faith community. as i said both political parties. now, we had a situation happened in the house recently. now, i mentioned the daca bill. that's not a builder it was something that president obama did about a year ago, a little over a year ago i think spent
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last august. >> last august. it's called the deferred action for childhood arrivals will see. and that takes, that says to the dreamers, those who fall under your bill, the dreamers, that they can get kind of a, correct me if i'm wrong, kind of a provisional state. a work permit. kind of a work thing where that if they can show that they came here as a young dream or, that they're going to school, they don't have a criminal record, they get a work permit and they both get kicked out of the country. >> that's right. >> they won't face that specter getting kicked out of the country if you're picked up in the backseat of a car for speeding, anything like that. so that has been a great policy. that's only been in existence since last year. we applauded the president for doing that, and i thought we all support and. just a week ago there was an amendment in the house of representatives on a funding bill to strip all of the funding and to end that program.
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which means that from, people like her two friends here, what have that taken away from them. they could then, both after and a quarter, both be kicked out of the country. after all, this time. that amendment, i am sad to say past by 224-201. it has just -- so that amendment was sponsored by the congressman from this district, congressman king. [booing] the only reason i say that is because we have an immigration bill that we passed in the senate, broadly supported, as i said, by labor, by business, the faith community, both political, bipartisan. it's sitting in the united states house of representatives. so those who want to denigrate
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our new immigrants, our dreamers, they had their vote. i now call upon the house of representatives to bring up the senate passed immigration bill and let us have our vote in the united states house of representatives. [applause] and dick, i will yield to you, but i believe the votes are there. if they bring up the senate bill and put on the floor, i think it will pass, don't you? >> we passed the immigration reform bill in the senate because it was a bipartisan bill. i worked on it for seven months. four democratic senators, four republican senators. a democratic senators, chuck schumer of new york, chairman of the immigration subcommittee. bob menendez of new jersey, our hispanic democratic senator, michael bennet of colorado.
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across the table, be thinking, what republicans would sit down with you? they must have been pushovers. sitting on the republican side, john mccain, former republican candidate for president of the united states. lindsey graham, republican senator from south carolina. marco rubio, tea party republican from florida, and jeff flake, the new senator from arizona. we sat there for seven months. it was a lot of work. over 40 face-to-face meetings. we went through everything under the sun. things we had mentioned today. h-1bs. these are visas that we offer to specialist training people, special professionals. let me give you an example. over 50% of the thd's that will be awarded at iowa state university in stem subjects, science, technology, engineering and math, will go to foreign-born students.
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they will get the best education -- wait, wait, wait. they get the best education in america. they felt the best skills in america and then we put them to the airport. now this bill says we'll offer them if they can find a chance to stay, to use those skills to build jobs in america, to build businesses in america. so -- [applause] we came together on a bipartisan basis, and at the end of the day we passed a bill. some parts of it i hated. some parts of it they hated. that's how you reach a compromise. we ended up with 54 democratic senators and 14 republican senators giving a 68 votes to pass that bill out of the senate. my message, and tom's message, to the speaker is, give us a chance to do things to come together, both political parties. give the house of representatives a chance to come up with a bipartisan approach. we have one. maybe they have one, too, but let's get it done.
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it's time for america to fix this broken immigration system. [applause] >> first off i want to ask if either eduardo or hector, do you have anything to add? i guess, since -- call on eduardo, because you are under the daca bill, right speak with yes. >> this is one guy writer that is under the daca thing that he mentioned. and if that thing, if that is done away with, as congressman king got the vote in the house, it won't pass the senate but if it did, what would happen to you? >> i have no idea. i live under the shadows again, you know. don't want to go back to country i really don't know. i'm not sure.
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>> but i think it's safe to say it would take away your plans for your future right now. >> absolutely. >> do you have anything to add, eduardo? actor, i mean. >> it would be very upsetting to me if that bill did pass the senate, and if they do find a program at the end of the program for myself, it would be devastating. a couple months ago when the iowa dot was in the decision not to grant driver's licenses, i was at the forefront saying we need to get this. we need this to happen. and if he would take back the program from us, from the dreamers, they would be everything we've been doing so far would be for nothing. and even then i think for myself i would try to get that program to come back. but it would be devastating, no doubt about it. >> listen, we have to mics -- i'm sorry, reverend.
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>> i helped register some of these daca kids when we had the opportunity, had a free clinic. and many of them had great fear turning over the name and all other information to the government, that is exactly might -- what will happen if they do away with the? so all of our information the where will we go, what will happen? they will come after our parents. so that fear kept some daca kids from, and their families, from moving forward. >> thank you. we have to mics out there. omar has when editing senator durbin's staff as with the if there's anyone who wants to make a comment or a statement or a question for any of our panelists. we will try to get -- >> senator harkin, jim hunter. senator durbin, first of all, thanks so much for being here. senator harkin, thanks so much for four decades of service to iowans.
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[applause] >> and, senator harkin, when senator harkin first ran for office for u.s. congress, he lived here in ames, iowa, and was elected from ames, iowa. let me change the focus slightly. you are talking to people in this country who support you and the dream act, but we need to talk to the people who oppose it. and i go back to georgia late, and this notion that we have people who are anxious to enforce the laws, and people broke the law. so we ought to build a fence. how high a fence do they want? 70 feet, whatever. it's racist. how do we know this? they don't want it up north. now, you said, both of you, you
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referred to if we pass the d.r.e.a.m. act, if we make people citizens they will pay taxes, but as he said, no, they already pay millions and millions and millions of dollars of taxes. sales taxes, property taxes, and yet some states don't want to let them go to public school. who funds public schools? and income, social security says that more than half, about half of them pay social security and get no benefit. >> that's right. >> i think we ought to be talking about we ought to be there. if we are not providing what they are paying for. [applause] >> jim -- one of the best ways to save social security, i thought i just might add that those of us working on social security in one of the best things we could do to preserve and extend the life of social security and make a better is to make sure we bring people out of
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the shadows. and so that they're fully paying into social security during their working years applaud the. >> one other element i would like to add. this bill is not a powder puff easy bill, for those who want to become citizens. it isn't. they come forward, register with the government, who they are, where they live, where they work. they then go through a criminal background check. it's tough. if at any sex crimes in the background, they are gone. know it's and/or but's. is really black and white. and i'm sure it's going to be problematic in some cases. but that's what it is. it's a tough standard. they pay the initial $500 out of $2000 as a fine. they are now on the books and they are paying taxes. and what does it mean? well, for many of them there will be no government benefits coming their way for 10 years, despite the fact they are paying taxes. for those who have been working here using some other identification number, they get
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no credit for the quarters worked under social security before this bill passes into law. none. if you work 20 years in america, paid into social security, on someone else's number and you can prove it, not worth anything. ..

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